Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rang Nasdaq's opening bell this morning to usher in a momentous day in business history: Facebook's initial public offering is one of the largest in history, elevating Facebook to be one of the most valuable U.S. companies.
[We'll be updating this article throughout the day to keep you posted on how the stock trades until the closing bell]
The IPO raised more than $16 billion, making it the richest after that of financial giant Visa in 2008, according to Renaissance Capital, as AFP reports.
The company was valued at close to $104 billion.
Facebook was expected to price its stock at $38 a share on Thursday, as Reuters reports. Close to 421.2 million shares are being offered.
Mashable writes the Facebook stock opened at $42, as reported at 11:36 a.m. ET.
Facebook gained as much as 18 percent in its trading debut, Bloomberg writes, with shares advancing 11 percent to $42.18 at 11:30 a.m. in New York, after earlier surging as high as $45, giving it a market value of $123.4 billion.
Facebook's IPO is also affecting other tech stocks. Zynga is taking the brunt of the beating; Its stock price was down 13.3%, to $7.17, Mashable writes. "Meanwhile, LinkedIn’s price was down about 5%, Yelp’s fell 3.6%, Renren’s was down about 11% and Pandora’s fell 6.4%."
Early interest in the new stock was so intense that Facebook this week raised the potential range of its IPO price, the San Jose Mercury News reports, "which was originally listed as $28 to $35. At the final price of $38, most of the shares sold in the IPO went to institutional funds and other big clients of the IPO's underwriters."
"Given the demand that they had, it doesn't take a genius to predict the stock is likely to have a pretty good day," said Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia according to the Mercury News. "How high does it go? It's hard to tell."
Zuckerberg couldn't help but promote his company's major move this morning, posting a Facebook status update detailing how Facebook is now listed on the Nasdaq.
Mashable notes the pressure is on Facebook now more so than ever, since the social media giant has to now answer to shareholders, "and those shareholders will expect their investment to grow substantially over time, both short-term and long-term. Facebook needs to choose the projects that will pay off for its investors while still keeping its users happy."
The website, founded in a Harvard dorm room in 2004, has rocketed into the world's most popular social network with 900 million users. It raked in $1.058 billion in revenues in Q1 2012, up from $731 million in Q1 2011 but down from $1.131 billion in Q4 2011. The company enjoyed $1 billion in profit in 2011. Around 70 different languages are supported by Facebook, and the social media powerhouse acquired 28 companies so far.
To compare IPOs, Apple debuted with a market value of less than $2 billion in 1980, while Microsoft took its bow in 1986 with a market value of less than $1 billion, as AP writes.