Wall Street friends Facebook as stock nears all-time high

Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Could this be the beginning of a beautiful friendship?

After bad reviews dashed its initial public offering, Wall Street is clicking “like” on Facebook.

Facebook is nearing its all-time high of $45 as analysts raise price targets to $48 and above.


Its market value has topped $100 billion as shares of Facebook jumped nearly 4% to $44.27 in Friday trading.

It’s quite the dramatic turnaround for Facebook, which slumped as low as $17.73 in September on concern over its ability to sell ads on mobile devices.

Those concerns have weighed on its shares since its much-hyped IPO, the largest technology offering on record.

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Now expectations for Facebook are soaring on optimism that the giant social network has decoded the answer to selling ever more mobile ads. Facebook said in July that ads on smartphones and tablets generated 41% of second-quarter ad revenue.

No matter that some consumer groups are protesting yet more changes to Facebook’s privacy policies that seem to be unpopular with its nearly 1.2 billion users. Or that Facebook has once again delayed the hotly anticipated launch of video ads.


“This delay may mean revenue from this initiative will not hit until late 2013 or 2014,” Macquarie Securities analyst Ben Schachter wrote in a research note. “At the end of the day, we think that advertising demand is there for a broad video advertising opportunity targeted by demographics on Facebook, so it really is just a matter of launch timing and creating the most effective ad format.”

In raising its price target to $49, Schachter said: “Facebook remains our top pick and even without the new video advertising product launching in 2013, we believe that there could be upside to our 2013 and 2014 estimates.”


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