NEW YORK (AP) — CEO Mark Zuckerberg's talk of Facebook's mobile prospects and his acknowledgment that the company cares about making money as well as making the world "more open and connected" lifted the battered shares of the social networking icon on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Zuckerberg spoke at a tech conference in San Francisco in his first interview since Facebook's rocky initial public offering in May. The stock has lost roughly half its value since the IPO. On Wednesday it gained $1.50, or 7.7 percent, to close at $20.93, still 45 percent below its IPO price of $38.
"He explained past missteps and challenges related to mobile and provided reasons for related optimism," wrote S&P Capital IQ equity analyst Scott Kessler in a note to investors. "In addition, Zuckerberg expressed disappointment related to the IPO and stock price, but indicated (that Facebook) cares about its shareholders, and that the company has had its share of ups and downs over the years."
Some on Wall Street had been questioning Zuckerberg's ability to lead a large public company. But the 28-year-old seemed to reassure investors during his half-hour appearance, where he appeared at ease in front of an audience of Silicon Valley bloggers, journalists, developers and others. He also signaled that Facebook will likely intensify its rivalry with Google Inc. by getting into the search business.