Hot Trade in Private Shares of Facebook

Trading in shares of still-private Silicon Valley companies such as Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. has surged in recent months, suggesting strong investor interest in some technology start-ups despite a moribund market for initial public offerings.

Though the firms remain private, they have shares, and some employees or investors who have received such stock want to cash out. Others want in. The sellers and buyers can be matched through private deals or by exchanges that have sprung up to bring them together

The spurt suggests bullish investor interest in companies that may come to market over the next couple years. But the trading is also raising concerns among investors and inside some private companies about abiding by regulations and keeping market expectations in check.

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