SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook rose to the highest price in almost four months, buoyed as investors’ confidence in revenue-growth prospects overcame a surge in the number of tradable shares.
The stock climbed 5.3 percent to $24.32 at the close in New York on Friday, the highest since July 26. The stock has gained 22 percent since Nov. 13, the last trading day before the most recent lockup expiration.
Restrictions lifted Nov. 14 on 804 million shares held by former employees and those who sold at the IPO, almost doubling the total publicly available. Since that lockup expiration, investors have stuck with Facebook because the world’s largest social network showed an ability to boost advertising in its most recent earnings report, said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities.
“It took us getting through these lockups without seeing a giant crush of shares show up with no demand,” Pachter said. “It’s pretty clear that the people who were eligible to sell last week are doing so in a disciplined manner. Each day that passes post-lockup there’s a new investor showing up who says, ‘OK I’m no longer scared by that.’ ”
The bans on sales are put in place to prevent shares from flooding the market immediately after an initial public offering. Restrictions lifted on smaller numbers of shares in August and October.