This little birdie sure can fly.
Twitter was launched as public company Thursday with a strong showing in its first hours of trading, undercutting the analysts and critics who had questioned whether the unprofitable social media outfit was an overvalued flash in the pan. Indeed, the lead-up to the IPO was a low-key affair, with many investors worried about a repeat of the Facebook debacle, in which another Internet star fizzed badly in its early days as a public company. Instead, Twitter dashed its doubters, at least on Thursday. After the IPO was set at $26 a share — itself a much higher price than Twitter sought earlier in the process — the stock’s first trades were above $45. At the end of its first day as a public company, Twitter carried a value of about $24 billion. The stock closed at $44.90, 73 percent above the IPO price.