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Facebook Rises to Six-Month High on Sales Outlook

Expanded Child-Privacy Rules for Websites Approved by U.S. FTC
The new regulations, the result of a two-year review process, revise the FTC’s standards for enforcing a 1998 child-privacy law and create new boundaries for the activities of websites, operated by companies such as Walt Disney Co. and Facebook Inc., that interact with children under 13. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Facebook Inc., owner of the largest social-networking service, rose 5.3 percent to a six-month high amid optimism that the company will benefit from new advertising efforts to drive revenue.

The stock jumped to $30.59 at the close in New York, the highest level since July 13, and has rallied 73 percent from a record low in September.

Facebook is overcoming skepticism about whether it can generate sales from advertisers seeking to reach people who socialize on mobile devices. Investors are gaining more confidence in the company’s ability to make money from its new advertising services, including mobile, said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group.

“The market is starting to appreciate that there is real money there,” Wieser said in an interview.

Desktop advertising is benefiting as well with the Facebook Exchange, which helps companies target marketing messages based on users’ past Web activities, he said.

Facebook also sent invitations yesterday to an event on Jan. 15 at its Menlo Park, California, headquarters, titled “Come and see what we’re building.”

While the company gave no details on the press event, the announcement may include news about a video advertising service or an expansion of its Gifts program, which lets users buy items for friends on Facebook, according to Victor Anthony, an analyst at Topeka Capital Markets Inc. The event may also be related to deeper integration efforts with wireless mobile carriers, he said in a note today.

“Facebook is a must own core stock in the media and Internet space, with several potential growth catalysts over the next two years,” Anthony wrote.

Facebook will announce fourth-quarter financial results on Jan. 30.

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