The shares were priced Wednesday at $17 and opened for trading Thursday at $22.22, a gain of 31 percent. At the close, Levi rose 32 percent to $22.41. In a rare move, the New York Stock Exchange suspended its "no jeans" policy to commemorate the offering, transforming the floor from suits and ties into a sea of blue denim, with its traders sporting jeans and denim jackets.
Investors said the strong demand for shares in Levi, which owns the Dockers and Denizen brands, is a good sign for other companies eyeing an IPO this year. Ride-hailing company Lyft will sell shares to the public next week, and larger rival Uber is expected to go public later this spring.
Shares of Levi Strauss & Co. are soaring as the company goes public again. The stock opened at $22.22, up 31 percent from its offering price of $17, which was better than the expected range of $14 to $16.
The broader stock markets were all up less than 1 percent.
The New York Stock Exchange community, including more than 300 traders, is suspending its "no jeans allowed" policy on Thursday to celebrate Levi Strauss returning to the public markets. More than 120 employees from Levi's global offices including its CEO Chip Bergh are taking part in the event and are wearing jeans and donning white T-shirt with the company's red bat wing logo.
Levi Strauss & Co., which gave America its first pair of blue jeans, is going public for the second time.
The 166-year-old company, which owns the Dockers and Denizen brands, previously went public in 1971, but the namesake founder's descendants took it private again in 1985.
The stock is listed under the ticker "LEVI" and is set to start trading Thursday at $17, above an originally expected range of $14 to $16.