SAN FRANCISCO – Investors keen to get in on the online networking craze snapped up LinkedIn Corp. shares at $45 each, the top of the company’s expected IPO range, giving the company a market value of over $4 billion. That’s the highest market value for a U.S. Internet company taking its first bow on Wall Street since Google Inc. went public seven years ago.

LinkedIn Corp.’s shares will make their market debut today on the New York Stock Exchange. Mutual funds, pension funds and other major money managers got the first chance to buy most of the IPO’s 7.84 million shares, since shares in most IPOs typically are sold to investment bankers’ top customers.

That means Main Street investors will get their first chance at LinkedIn today. Most analysts believe that demand will send shares higher in their first day of trading even though the stock is priced 30 percent to 40 percent higher than LinkedIn’s initial target of $32 to $35 per share.

The lofty $4.3 billion appraisal reflects investors’ belief that Internet services connecting people with common interests will be able to make more money as the Web’s audience steadily expands.

LinkedIn, based down the street from Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, runs a website that serves as part Rolodex, part hiring center for workers trying to meet people who might further their careers, and businesses searching for talented employees. More than 102 million people have set up LinkedIn profiles so far, and another one million join each week.

The company makes most of its money from fees charged for better access to the data on its website. It earned $3.4 million on revenue of $243 million last year, but expects to lose money this year as it invests in new products and more computers.