Art & Commerce

IPO Watch The stock market’s recent wackiness did not damage the advertising and advertising-related stocks–most are seasoned and, for better or worse, investors have become comfortable with them. (The fact that first reports of September-quarter business results are uniformly good didn’t hurt, either.) Unseasoned stocks are a more sensitive indicator of market sentiment, and the least seasoned of all are newly public equities. IPO performance can be like the canary in a coal mine when it comes to sniffing investor fear. Investors, logically enough, assume that in a market panic, untested stocks will be the first to crash. Therefore, if they deem the market shaky, they won’t chase initial public offerings. Not surprisingly, no deals were done on the Big Down Monday or the Big Up Tuesday. But 15 deals were concluded during the week’s final three days, only one fewer than the week before. How did they do? Most came out at or above their expected price; even better, all but two posted gains in the first day of trading. Market and business conditions, it would seem, remain favorable for any otherwise qualified advertising company mulling a public debut. –Alan Gottesman (westendal is principal of West End Consulting.

Halloween week ended far better than it began on Wall Street. Bullish investor sentiment helped more than a dozen companies make successful initial public offerings.
Number of IPOs:15
Number priced in or above filing range:12
Number trading up:13
Average first-day gain: 25.4%
Best first-day showing(MMC Networks):94.4%
Worst first-day showing(Avteam):-2.0%
Source: West End Research