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Shares in Uber's largest rival, Lyft, surged 21% on their market debut in New York.

Lyft priced 32.5 million shares at the top of its $70-$72 per share target range ahead of the start of trading on the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

That valued the firm at $24.3bn (£18.6bn).

It took more than two hours for the opening price to emerge as the initial public offering (IPO) – the largest market debut since Alibaba in 2014 and a first for a ride-hailing firm – sparked a FOMO (fear of missing out) rush of interest.

Analysts explained its growth potential was seen as outweighing the fact it remains heavily loss-making.

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The shares also carry no voting rights.

But they rose to $87.24 dollars when the first trades were declared.

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Image: Lyft claims to have 40 percent of the US ride-hailing market

The number of shares sold was above its earlier estimates and it will give Uber encouragement as it prepares its own share debut, which is expected later this spring and could value the company at $100bn (£76.5bn) – reflecting its global scale.

Lyft's prospectus claims to have 40% of the ride-hailing market in the US. It also operates in Canada.

The share sale gives it a war chest of over $2.3bn (£1.8bn) to fund expansion and investment as the sector moves towards an electric and self-driving future.

Lyft's drive for innovation is being made through partnerships rather than its own research team.

Investors have been attracted by market forecasts of surging demand as private car sales come under pressure globally.

Lyft – founded in 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer – reported revenue of over $2bn in 2018, though losses grew to $911m. Its drivers carried more than 30 million passengers.

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