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Snap soars nearly 50% after trading begins

Snap soared as much as 45% when it opened for trading at $24 a share on Thursday.

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Market makers at the New York Stock Exchange indicated the stock was set to open from $23.50 to $24.50 a share.

At 200 million shares, Snap raised $3.4 billion and was valued at nearly $24 billion as of its pricing. Sources had told CNBC earlier this week that investors were expecting a pricing of $17 to $18 per share, above the $14 to $16 per share range originally given by the company.

The IPO is 12 times oversubscribed, sources said Thursday morning, meaning that there were 12 times more orders for than there were shares offered. Some managers told CNBC they got as little as 2 percent of what they were asking for.

The pricing and high demand reflect what Wall Street's top investment firms think about the stock, and telegraphs how the year's most anticipated IPO might fare in the public market.

It could take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2½ hours to get an IPO trading, NYSE Group President Tom Farley told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Thursday.

"This whole group of brokers, they're communicating with a broader set of investors," Farley said. "We won't open just because people want us to open, or at a particular deadline. We'll take as long as it takes to have that price iteration slow down so you can have a smooth open."

The company behind Snapchat — an ephemeral photo messaging app that's viral among teens — has presented investors with some unique challenges. It's unclear how exactly the California company plans to make a profit, especially with daily active user growth slowing. Shareholders will also get negligible voting rights with the stock.

But Snap, which will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under SNAP, is also one of the few new growth opportunities to hit the public market.

"[Snap's] user base considers camera an app — they didn't have a camera growing up," Rob Sanderson, research analyst at equity research and trading firm MKM Partners, told "Squawk on the Street" on Thursday.

Despite stocks notching record highs, there has been a dearth of public offerings. Proceeds from the U.S. IPO market were only $18.8 billion last year, according to Renaissance Capital, down from $86.6 billion in 2014.

Still, many companies price high and sell low, and vice versa. Facebook, for instance, saw shares seesaw on its first trading day, ending less than 1 percent higher. Since then, of course, Facebook found its footing, and has risen about 250 percent. It hit an all-time high on Thursday.

More on the Snap IPO
How Snap handles its first few quarters will either make it a star or get it 'Twittered'
Why Reddit's co-founder is bullish on the stock
Here's the difference between Snap and Twitter

— Reporting by CNBC's Leslie Picker and David Faber. Written by Anita Balakrishnan.

Watch: This is how Snapchat makes its money