Meta’s $197 billion surge is biggest in stock-market history

Meta Platforms Inc. just become Wall Street’s top comeback kid.

It was only a couple of years back the Facebook owner suffered the single biggest market value destruction in stock-market history. But the company has come a long way since then, on Thursday it dazzled shareholders with yet another impressive quarterly earnings report as the social media giant focuses on cutting back costs and shoring up billions in profits.

The stock rose 20% Friday to close at an all-time high of $474.99 per share. The gain added $197 billion to its market capitalization, the biggest single-session market value addition, eclipsing the $190 billion gains made by Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. in 2022.

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“Solid execution, faster growth, and increased capital structure efficiency improve the outlook from here,” Brian Nowak, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a note Friday.

“Meta’s AI pipeline for both users and advertisers is robust, with more tools set to launch and scale throughout ‘24,” he added.

Meta, which reduced headcount by 22% in 2023, unveiled plans for a $50 billion stock buyback, and announced its first quarterly dividend on Thursday, a sign to investors that it has money to spare and a reason for them to stick around.

While the company is making big cost cuts, it continues to spend aggressively on artificial intelligence advancements, namely in generative AI but also on the background technologies to help feed its social media products and power its ad targeting.

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Harry Byrne

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