Snap's first day as a publicly traded stock — ticker SNAP — has exceeded expectations: Thursday afternoon, shares in the Snapchat creator closed at $24.48, nearly 50% higher than its initial Wednesday night share price of $17.
Snap's big daily gain is what people in the industry often call a "pop."
When they're first offered, IPO stock is priced to sell: The goal is to name a price that investors will find attractive (i.e., one that's "low" enough). But companies also don't want the price to stay at bargain levels for long.
Because SNAP shares gained so much value, the company is already worth — on paper — more than household names like CBS and American Airlines.
In fact, appetite for Snap stock was so strong, many investors accidentally poured money into a completely unrelated company, Snap Interactive, as economist Justin Wolfers pointed out on Twitter.
The fact that Snap's stock popped leads some to suspect that more technology IPOs could be in store as other unicorns — privately held companies worth $1 billion or more — decide to try their luck in public markets.
Of course, not everyone is trying to get in on the SNAP action.
At least one analyst told Barron's that he thinks the stock is worth more like $10 per share, citing a host of factors from inexperienced management to slowing growth.
In what was perhaps a subtle nod to his detractors, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel told the Los Angeles Times that it would take an "education process for the next five years," to properly explain to the general public how his company creates value.
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