Snap shares closed their first day of trading up 44 percent at $24.48 a share, quenching a long drought in the market for tech IPOs.
More than 200 million shares — the entire size of the offering — changed hands over the course of the day, accounting for roughly 10 percent of the total volume of trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.
The stock opened shortly before 11:20 a.m. on Thursday in New York, and started trading at $24 a share, rising 41.2 percent from its pricing at the open. The company, trading under the ticker SNAP, priced its public offering at $17 a share on Wednesday.
Share prices rose as high as $26.05, according to FactSet, and fell as low as $23.50.
The opening price of $24 puts the company's market capitalization at about $33 billion, about the size of Marriot and Target. Twitter's market cap is about 11 billion, while Facebook's is about $395 billion.
The young ephemeral photo messaging company posted a $515 million loss last year. At least a few Wall Street analysts reacted skeptically to the offering, issuing "sell" ratings on the stock.
Nonetheless, investors have bet on its quickly growing revenue and visionary leader, 26-year-old co-founder CEO Evan Spiegel. Spiegel arrived at the stock exchange on Thursday morning to ring the opening bell, with supermodel fiancee Miranda Kerr in tow, documenting with pictures on the app.
The Venice, California-based company, which serves augmented reality and cinematic advertisements to its young adult audience, could be a bellwether as other start-up giants, such as Airbnb and Uber, mull a public offering. The IPO was 12 times oversubscribed, sources said.
Snap enters the public market a day after the three major U.S. stock indexes posted their best session of the year. About $5 billion changed hands in Snap stock – that's roughly on par with what Twitter saw on its first day. However, that's much less than the $23 billion that changed hands in Facebook and the $25 billion that changed hands in Alibaba on their first day of trading.
— CNBC's Leslie Picker, David Faber, Robert Hum Fred Imbert and Gina Francolla contributed to this report.