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Facebook shares jump on Sandberg interview

The Associated Press

Facebook shares had their second-largest jump of the year after Sheryl Sandberg again insisted that she is staying with Facebook.

The closely watched chief operating officer denied rumors on NBC's Today that she is considering a political run, saying that she loves her job. After Sandberg sold off a large chunk of her Facebook shares, speculation grew that she was getting ready to depart.

Sandberg said in the interview that the share sales were largely for tax purposes.

Sandberg holds about 10.6 million shares at last count, according to FactSet. That is down from 17.9 million at this time last year.

Sandberg has said in previous interviews, including one with The Associated Press, that she wanted to stay at Facebook.

However, there has also been growing optimism this week about Facebook from some industry analysts that follow the company.

Susquehanna analyst Brian Nowak said Wednesday that Facebook's "traction with brands is growing."

The only time the company saw a bigger percentage increase in shares this year was just after it released its earnings report in January, showing that fears over the ability to snare mobile advertising was overblown.

Susquehanna said Wednesday, and Stifel Nicolaus Tuesday, that a decline in shares since they hit an all-time high last month offers a buying opportunity to investors.

Shares of Facebook Inc. rose 6 percent to $61.73 by early afternoon.