| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Jan 14 Facebook Inc's
stock opened on Monday above $32 for the first time since July
as anticipation about upcoming products and financial results
underscored Wall Street's renewed confidence in the online
Facebook will on Tuesday host its first major press event at
its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, since its troubled
initial public offering in May, triggering a guessing game among
technology observers and online blogs about what it could unveil
- everything from a smartphone to a search engine.
"There's a lot of speculation. Nothing to me seems to be
that certain," Jefferies & Co analyst Brian Pitz said.
"If I were to bet, I'd think it was something that was
ad-platform related. I'm not convinced on the phone," said Pitz,
citing previous comments by Facebook's leaders including CEO
Mark Zuckerberg that making a smartphone would be the "wrong
strategy" for Facebook.
In an email to reporters last week, Facebook invited the
media to "come and see what we're building" without providing
Some analysts said the stock's recent gains - shares are up
roughly 17 percent since the start of the year - may have more
to do with the company's upcoming fourth-quarter financial
results, slated for Jan. 30.
"The stock is up because they have driven a dramatic
increase in the ad load of their mobile app which is giving
investors hope that they exceeded expectations," BTIG analyst
Richard Greenfield said.
Shares were down about 1.3 percent to $31.30 in
The world's No.1 social network with 1 billion users,
Facebook became the first U.S. company to debut on stock markets
with a value of more than $100 billion. Its value subsequently
plunged by more than 50 percent on mounting concerns about
slowing revenue growth and the challenges of making money as
users shift from personal computers to mobile devices.
Facebook surprised Wall Street in the third quarter by
announcing that mobile ads accounted for 14 percent of its total
ad revenue. Some analysts expect the company to report further
growth in its nascent mobile ad business for the fourth quarter.
Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook in his Harvard dorm room,
has said that mobile is the "most misunderstood aspect" of
Facebook. But he has repeatedly poured cold water on rumors that
Facebook would build its own smartphone to compete against Apple
Inc's iPhone and smartphones based on Google Inc's
Android operating system.
During an on-stage interview at a conference in September,
Zuckerberg said that he believed search could be a ripe area of
growth for Facebook.
"Facebook is really uniquely positioned to answer a lot of
the questions that people have," Zuckerberg said, such as
finding a good restaurant or learning more about a job
Still, many technology observers believe that Facebook is
more likely to improve the search capabilities within Facebook
than to develop a full-fledged search engine that indexes all
the Web's content and competes head-on with search leader
Among the other items that technology blogs and analysts
speculate might be unveiled on Tuesday were new standalone apps
for Apple's iPad tablet, new features to display video ads and
even a new wing of corporate headquarters.
Some cautioned that expectations of a game-changing new
product were likely to cause disappointment.
"There's no way they're announcing anything that has
financial impact, or they wouldn't do it now, they'd wait two
weeks," said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, citing
Facebook's upcoming earnings.
"Why would you announce something that has a financial
impact during the quiet period?," he said.