UPDATE: Zoetis, which stock market folks said was the biggest IPO since Facebook, had a good first day. The stock started at $26 per share and closed at $31.05 on the New York Stock exchange.

(From this morning......)

Zoetis, which is the animal drug business of Pfizer, Inc., is scheduled to begin began trading Friday under the ticker symbol ZTS on the New York Stock Exchange.

Straight from the website, www.zoetis.com, "The name Zoetis has its root in zo, which is familiar in commonly known words such as zoo and zoology. It derives from zoetic, meaning 'pertaining to life,' and signals the company's dedication to improving the health of animals across species and around the world based on the fundamental understanding that animal and human health are inextricably linked."

Pfizer is spinning off Zoetis as a standalone company - sort of.

Pfizer will sell about 17 percent of the shares, keeping the rest. The theory behind the move was that the animal health division could draw more investment dollars if buyers could see the numbers and profits apart from the human pharmaceutical business.

Wall Street banks (JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley) and their key clients apparently think it will work well.

Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday night that Zoetis raised $2.24 billion in the pre-market selling, with the 86.1 million shares going for $26. The initial offering range was $22 to $25 per share.

A link to the Bloomberg story is here and a link to the Journal piece is here.

Some of the expectation for the company lies in the idea that people will spend a lot of money on their pets. London's Telegraph had a story Thursday on a woman taking out another mortgage on her house to pay for the reward for her lost dog. The German short-haired pointer named Angel was apparently dognapped from a parked car. The scoundrels! A link to that story is here.

But as much as PhillyPharma loves dogs (we had them in our youth), the Zoetis stock enthusiasm is borne of middle class growth in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), where more people will want beef and pork. The high feed prices might dampen that trend a bit, but drugs for cows and pigs is where Zoetis will make much of its cash. A link to an OECD study on beef and pork prospects through 2020 is here.