Facebook Inc shares climbed more than 3 percent to an all-time high on Wednesday, valuing the world's most popular social networking at $106 billion, as investors focused on the company's recent mobile-advertising advances.
Reuters reported that shares rose 3.3 percent to $45.04 at the close in New York, and briefly hit $45.07 shortly after 2 p.m. on the Nasdaq -- highs that haven't been seen since Facebook's initial public offering on May 18, 2012.
Facebook's chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, is leading an effort to bring more users and ad dollars to Facebook services on smartphones and tablets; mobile accounted for 41 percent of Facebook's ad revenue in the second quarter, up from 30 percent in the previous period.
“There’s growing recognition that, ‘Hey, this is not just a fad -- it’s not going away, it’s becoming ingrained in people’s lives,’” Martin Pyykkonen, an analyst at Wedge Partners, told Bloomberg. “Their ads are becoming more effective. Advertisers are finding that’s a very attractive place to target.”
The stock's climb to a new high on Wednesday marks the latest milestone in a recovery that follows Facebook's rocky Wall Street debut last year, when the stock traded at half its $38 offering price.
Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said the IPO process strengthened Facebook by forcing it better understand various aspects of its business, Reuters reported.
"Having gone through what I think most people would characterize as an extremely turbulent first year as a public company, I can tell you I actually don't think it's that bad," said Zuckerberg, explaining that his fears of employee defections and low morale in response to the diminishing stock price got overblown.
Zuckerberg also said he rethought his view about staying privately held for as long as possible, according to Reuters.
"In retrospect, I was too afraid of going public," Zuckerberg said at the technology conference. But he didn't speak about future video ad products or plans to make money from its Instagram unit, Reuters noted. Instagram, the mobile photo app acquired by Facebook in 2012 is a hit, especially with young people, but it doesn't carry any advertising.
Wall Street's view of Facebook greatly improved in July, when the social media giant reported its mobile advertising revenue grew 75 percent in the second quarter, Facebook's largest revenue growth since 2011's third quarter.
"The second quarter was the turning point when a lot of their work over the last year with the newsfeed came through," JMP Securities analyst Ronald Josey told Reuters, referring to the format of Facebook updates carrying mobile ads. Since then, the stock has advanced 67 percent. "Mobile is very hard to get audience at scale and Facebook is proving that it's one of those places where advertisers can go to reach eyeballs."
According to reports, Facebook anticipates sales and user growth for its mobile apps to outpace its desktop website.