Facebook shares hit six-month high on rumours of smartphone

SHARES in Facebook reached their highest level in six months yesterday as speculation mounted that Mark Zuckerberg’s company is set to unveil its own smartphone.

Facebook sent out invitations to a special event scheduled for next week, encouraging guests to “come and see what we’re building”.

The news reignited rumours that the company will look to sell a Facebook-branded smartphone in a bid to counter suggestions that the social network is not as effective on phones – where increasing numbers of people are using it – as on the desktop. Facebook, which makes most of its money from advertising, has recently introduced changes to adverts to counter those criticisms, but a dedicated Facebook smartphone could be more effective.

The company is rumoured to have been working on a device with Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC, although it would clearly face strong competition from the likes of Apple and Samsung.

Chief executive Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook in 2004 and took it public last year, has in the past shot down suggestions that the company will build a phone, claiming it “would clearly be the wrong strategy for us”.

The stock broke the $30 mark for the first time since early July in New York yesterday. This is almost double the price in early September, when analysts were firing warnings over the company’s sustainability.