Stocks & Commodities V. 24:12 (62-64, 86): Websites For Traders: by David Penn

Stocks & Commodities V. 24:12 (62-64, 86): Websites For Traders: by David Penn
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Stocks & Commodities V. 24:12 (62-64, 86): Websites For Traders: by David Penn

IPO Home by Renaissance Capital

For a few years back in the late 1990s, saying “IPO” around a group of anxious investors was like shouting “Pull!” at a skeet shooting range. I can still remember the gray-haired, Birkenstock-wearing left-wing computer geek I worked for during the bubble years strutting around the office as he mentally counted the amount of money he had made just that afternoon because he had been one of the fortunate few who had received shares of VA Linux just as the company went public. VA Linux, for those who don’t recall, registered what was at the time the best single-day performance in history for an initial public offering (IPO) as it rallied nearly 700% from its opening price of $30 a share to an intraday high of more than $300.

As the saying goes, that was then. About two years later, VA Linux was a shadow of its former self — laying off 35% of its employees and announcing it was getting out of the computer hardware business that had been the company’s raison d’ętre since its founding in the early 1990s.

For many investors, I’m sure that experiences like VA Linux during the bubble years turned them off to IPOs in the same way that the NASDAQ crash caused investors to flee the stock market. But IPOs are as old as the stock market itself (here’s a bit of trivia: the first American IPO was the Bank of the United States in 1791). And it should not be surprising if many of the IPOs of the bubble years in the late 1990s suffered the same fate as many of the stocks during the bubble years.

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