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Shares in Snap, the parent of the vanishing messaging service Snapchat, opened at $24, up sharply from the $17 the group priced at on Wednesday evening and giving it a market valuation of $27.8bn.

The strong opening on the New York Stock Exchange comes after Snap floated its shares above the $14 – $16 range that it had forecast amid strong demand from investors.

Snap’s IPO market valuation of almost $20bn represents the biggest listing of a tech company globally since Alibaba in 2014, according to Dealogic data.

The NYSE floor was awash in yellow on Thursday, the colour of Snap’s logo. Some traders were clad in the company’s spectacles, essentially sun-glasses with a camera built in.

After the Snap IPO, investors will be waiting to see if other large so-called unicorns that have garnered multi-billion dollar valuations on the private market will begin plotting their own public debuts.

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