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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Facebook's $16 billion IPO one of world's largest

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Facebook's initial public offering of stock is shaping up to be one of the largest ever. The world's definitive online social network is raising at least $16 billion, a big windfall for a company that began eight years ago with no way to make money.

Facebook priced its IPO at $38 per share on Thursday, at the high end of its expected range. If extra shares reserved to cover additional demand are sold as part of the transaction, Facebook Inc. and its early investors stand to reap as much as $18.4 billion from the IPO.

The IPO values the company at around $104 billion, slightly more than Amazon.com, and well above well-known corporations such as Disney and Kraft.

The $38 is the price at which the investment banks orchestrating the offering will sell the stock to their clients. Facebook's stock is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market sometime Friday morning under the ticker symbol "FB." That's when so-called retail investors can try to buy the stock.

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Wal-Mart's 1Q profit up 10.1 percent

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Wal-Mart's U.S. business finally got its groove back.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported a 10.1 percent increase in first-quarter profit that beat Wall Street estimates as its re-emphasis on low prices drove bargain-hungry U.S. shoppers into its stores. The world's largest retailer also offered an upbeat profit outlook for the current quarter, and its shares rose 4 percent.

The strong results signal a turnaround at Wal-Mart's U.S. business, which had suffered during the economic downturn as its core low-income customers were hit hard by joblessness and other challenges. Adding to that, the business, which accounts for 62 percent of Wal-Mart's total net sales, had made some mistakes in veering away from its "everyday low prices" strategy and getting rid of popular merchandise.

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