Facebook Inc shares opened 11 percent higher on Friday, after the pioneering online social network raised as much as $18.4 billion in one of the biggest initial public offerings in U.S. history.
After a delay in the opening print that drove up anxiety levels among traders and onlookers outside the Nasdaq, the company's closely watched stock began trading at $4 2.05, c ompared with an IPO price of $38.
To rapturous applause from employees, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg -- flanked by Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Nasdaq Chief Executive Robert Greifeld -- rang the bell to kick off trading at the company's Silicon Valley headquarters at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time.
The 28-year-old billionaire founder hugged and high-fived Sandberg and other employees in celebration after he pressed the remote button.
The area outside Facebook's offices at 1 Hacker Way was packed with throngs of photographers, more than 12 television trucks, and a TV news helicopter hovering overhead as the excitement reached fever pitch.
With a value of $104 billion, Facebook became the first American company to debut at over a $100 billion. It is larger than Starbucks Corp and Hewlett-Packard combined.
"A 15 to 20 percent pop is in the realm of possibility," said Tim Loughran, a finance professor at the University of Notre Dame, before the start of trade.
"Given they already moved their IPO range up and increased the size, that's bullish to begin with."
To read the entire article visit: Facebook shares rise 11 pct in frenzied trade