Facebook  (FB) now looks like a textbook example of how to invest for the long term.

The social media company was taken public in May 2012 in an initial public offering that was marred by technical difficulties and long considered a disaster. Priced at $38, Facebook shares closed at $38.23 after their first day of trading -- and then kept dropping during the next several days. It would take 14 months for the company's stock to return to its IPO price.

Slowly but surely, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team of executives broadened the company's business and moved quickly to mobile, Facebook shares began their ascent. The company's stock closed at $54.65 at the end of 2013. It closed at $78.02 at the end of 2014.  

On Thursday, a day after reporting robust third-quarter earnings and revenue, Facebook closed at a new high of $108.76 -- nearly triple its IPO price. Facebook shares rose by 4.6% Thursday. The company is now worth more than $300 billion.

But for Zuckerberg, this is no time to be looking back.

"We're focused on innovating and investing for the long term to serve our community and connect the entire world," Zuckerberg said on Wednesday.

Facebook is now the sixth-largest company in the S&P 500 Index, based on market capitalization. The company has more than 1.55 billion monthly users.

Mark Mahaney, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, told Bloomberg Markets that, based on Facebook's strong quarterly growth, his firm has raised its price target to $130. Mahoney said Facebook's growth reminds him of Alphabet's (GOOGL)  fast-paced Google unit in 2007-2008.

TheStreet's Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money," said in this interview with TheStreet's Rhonda Schaffler that Facebook stock is still inexpensive and can "rather easily go to $120." Facebook is a holding in his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS.

In its quarterly earnings report released after the closing bell Wednesday, Facebook said it earned 57 cents a share on revenue of $4.5 billion in the third quarter. Analysts had expected the company to earn 52 cents a share on revenue of $4.37 billion.

Read this report from TheStreet's Technology Editor Chris Ciaccia to learn how Facebook managed to post $4.3 billion in advertising revenue during the quarter -- with 78% of that amount coming from mobile.


HomeAway (AWAY) shares soared by 25% Thursday, closing at $40.15, after Expedia  (EXPE) said it would buy the short-term rental marketplace for $3.9 billion. Expedia, a travel booking site that owns Orbitz, Hotels.com and Travelocity, rose by 2.3%, closing at $137.31.

"We have long had our eyes on the fast-growing, $100 billion, alternative accommodations space and have been building on our partnership with HomeAway, a global leader in vacation rentals, for two years," said Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of Expedia," in a release. "Bringing HomeAway into the Expedia family and adding its leading brands to our portfolio of the most trusted brands in travel is a logical next step."

HomeAway shareholders would receive $38.31 per share, with $10.15 in cash and the remainder in Expedia stock.

The deal comes as HomeAway is reworking its business model to resemble the more favorable economics of privately held Airbnb. Read TheStreet's report of the deal and what it means for the industry.


FireEye (FEYE) plummeted by 22.9% Thursday, closing at $22.46, after the online security company reported disappointing third-quarter earnings after the closing bell Wednesday.

The company reported a loss of 37 cents a share on revenue of $165.6 million. Analysts had expected the company to lose 45 cents a share on revenue of $167.1 million.

FireEye also cut its full-year sales forecast to between $620 million and $628 million, down from its prior guidance of $630 million to $645 million. Read TheStreet's report on FireEye.


Shares of chipmaker Qualcomm (QCOM) fell by 15.3% Thursday, closing at $51.07.

The company reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday that missed analysts' estimates. The company also reduced its earnings guidance for its current quarter. Qualcomm stock is now at its lowest point in four years. Read TheStreet's report.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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