Facebook logo on a screen at the Nasdaq market site (© Shannon Stapleton-Newscom-Reuters)
Updated: 4:31 p.m. ET

Facebook
(FB), the stock that so many people love to hate, came oh-so-close to regaining -- finally -- its initial public offering price.

The shares hit as high as $37.96 Tuesday, 4 cents under the $38 price the stock fetched when it went public in May 2012. They fell back slightly, ending the day at $37.61, up $2.18.

The percentage gain was second-best among stocks in the Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX). Facebook helped the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) and the Nasdaq-100 finish Tuesday at highs last seen in the fall of 2000.

Facebook ended Tuesday up 43% in the four trading sessions since Wednesday afternoon when it reported second-quarter results that beat Wall Street estimates and proved that the company can generate revenue from advertising on its mobile site.

Moreover, the stock is up 114.3% from its intraday low of $17.55, reached on Sept. 4, 2012, and it's up 41.3% for the year.

There wasn't much news to go with the price gain. Tiernan Bay of Barron's called the stock's performance on Tuesday a "post-earnings victory lap." 

But it has been a heckuva victory lap. The market capitalization of the company has shot up from $64.1 billion to nearly $92 billion -- more than Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A).

And it boosted the value of Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg's stake to $18.8 billion, up from about $13 billion on July 24. That's a gain of about $1.4 billion a day.

Facebook's resurgence came after the company reported a 58% increase in earnings per share and a 53% increase in revenue for the second quarter. Mobile advertising revenue helped fuel the gains. It was 41% of revenue in the quarter, or $743 million.

Facebook went public on May 17, 2012 at $38. Shares opened for trading the next day at $42, hit $45 but ended the day at $38.23. The IPO was probably overpriced, and the Nasdaq market, which had won the Facebook listing, had problems getting trades to execute, infuriating investors even more.

It was downhill for the shares -- amid great derision -- from there until September. The resurgence came after many pundits confidently predicted that the shares would ultimately drop below $10.

Before the earnings report, there was talk that teenagers were starting to move on from the social-networking site.

Zuckerberg said during the company's July 24 conference call that "the number of teens using Facebook on both a daily and monthly basis has been steady over the past year and half."

Facebook's rally came as the U.S. stock market was decidedly mixed on Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) were down 1 points to 15,521. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) gained 1 point to 1,686. The Nasdaq was up 17 points to 3,616, its best finish since Sept. 29, 2000.

The Nasdaq-100, which includes most of the largest Nasdaq stocks, added 16 points to 3,085, its best close since Nov. 7, 2000. Facebook contributed about 20% of the index's gain on the day.

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