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IPO Market Heats Up As Investors Risk Appetite Grows
By: iStockAnalyst   Sunday, April 1, 2012 11:41 AM
Symbols: FITB, MM
Its shares climbed as much as 19 percent Thursday to $22.68 on the NASDAQ.

On Wednesday, IPO debut, Vocera Communications (NASDAQ:VCRA), closed 32 percent higher. Consumer finance company Regional Management (NYSE:RM) finished its initial trading day on March 28 up nearly 10 percent.

Natural gas shipping company GasLog (NYSE:GLOG) shares fell as much as 12 percent in their market debut a day after pricing its shares at $14, below its indicated range of $16 to $18.

However, Enphase Energy (NASDAQ:ENPH) got a solid response from investors as it gained as much as 29 percent on its opening day, after it increased the size of offering to 8.97 million shares from 7.27 million shares.

On the performance front, many stocks that started with a bang have now weakened. Shares of Groupon, Inc. (NASDAQ;GRPN) have dropped 32 percent since its IPO in November 2011. Shares of Pandora Media (NYSE:P) have lost 42 percent of its value since its debut in June.

On the other hand, Farmville maker Zynga, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZNGA) advanced 35 percent since its trading debut in December. LinkedIn is up 8 percent since its began trading on May 19, 2011.

Consumer-review website Yelp Inc. (NYSE;YELP), which raised $123 million in its IPO, doubled since its debut. Vantiv Inc. (NYSE:VNTV), which is partly owned by Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB), have gained 18 percent since they began trading March 22.

Meanwhile, all the IPO cheers seem to be happening only in the US. The latest Ernst & Young report says that global IPO activity has fallen sharply in the first quarter of 2012. In the first quarter, a total of 157 deals has raised only $14.3 billion, down by 69 from $46.6 billion raised from 296 deals in the same period last year. This is the lowest quarter on record since the second quarter of 2009 when there were 82 IPOs worth $10.4 billion.

The report noted that technology IPOs are continuing to drive the US IPO market. Of the 32 IPOs completed on U.S stock exchanges raising $4.8 billion, 11 were technology IPOs, which raised US $1.1 billion.

"The average market value for US technology companies at the time of their IPO was double the average market value, compared to companies from other sectors. Also, interesting to note that these companies tended to sell smaller percentages of their shares (typically 10%-15%); we expect to see other sectors looking into that IPO strategy in 2012," said Maria Pinelli, Global Strategic Growth Markets Leader at Ernst & Young.

European stock exchanges raised $2.5 billion in 24 IPOs and accounted for 18 percent of global capital raised this quarter. In Asia, 84 deals were completed raising $6.7 billion, accounting for 47 percent of global IPO funds raised in the first quarter of 2012. However, Asia experienced a 74 percent drop in capital raised from the first quarter of 2011 when 155 deals raised $25.9 billion.

Ernst & Young also acknowledged the investors liking for the technology companies and said technology IPOs remain very attractive to investors, who are actively looking for the right type of investment.

"In this environment, we expect to keep seeing big technology companies listing at home or abroad," Pinelli said.

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