Facebook shares cross $30, highest price in 6 months

By Brittany Darwell Comment

Facebook shares today closed at $30.59, up 5.26 percent, and the first time the stock passed the $30 mark since mid-July 2012.

Facebook has gone as low as $17.73 a share in the past six months, but has been looking up since major IPO lock-up periods passed and new revenue opportunities emerged. The company’s mobile ads and Facebook Exchange programs are generating more revenue than anticipated, and Facebook Gifts presents an entirely new revenue stream. Analysts have been improving their ratings and target prices, as a result.

The latest positive remarks come from Baird Equity Research, which issued a report Tuesday reiterating its “outperform” and raising its price target to $34 per share. The firm now estimates Facebook’s revenue for the end of 2012 to be $1.5 billion instead of $1.45 billion. It also increased its estimates for Facebook’s 2013 revenues, predicting $6.4 billion at 64 cents in earnings per share. The social network will report Q4 2012 earnings on Jan. 30.

Another upcoming event could be fueling investor optimism. On Tuesday, Facebook invited the press to its headquarters for an ambiguous event on Jan. 15. The invitation simply says, “Come and see what we’re building.” This could be an expansion of its platform, including more social commerce features, or possibly a new search product. The company also seems to be working on building premium services for the enterprise. Others continue to speculate about Facebook developing a mobile device, despite the company’s insistence that it isn’t. Of course, Facebook could always introduce something entirely different than anyone predicts.

There’s no word whether CEO Mark Zuckerberg will speak at Tuesday’s event, but his last major public appearance in September gave the stock a significant boost.