The IPO Market Returns

By Eric Fox | July 23, 2009 AAA

A review of recent initial public offerings show that this niche part of the market is slowly returning to normal, another sign that the credit crisis may be slackening. Most of the recent offerings are also gleefully riding the market rally that kicked off with second quarter earnings season. How long this performance will continue is anyone's guess.

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The market for initial public offerings dried up considerably during the financial crisis and recession with only two initial public offerings in the first quarter of 2009. The last quarter of 2008 was even worse with Grand Canyon Education, Inc. (Nasdaq:LOPE) as the only company with the courage to test the market. Investors who participated in the offering were rewarded as the stock trades at $17.50 after coming to market at $12.

The market has loosened up considerably since the first quarter bottom, and during June 2009, the market saw seven companies come public, in a range of industries from healthcare to chemicals. Three of the seven companies were Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), an odd choice considering the valuation of REITs in the market, and the current investor sentiment towards this sector. (Read more about REITs in our tutorial Exploring Real Estate Investments: Introduction.)

The most recent initial public offering was for LogMeIn, Inc. (Nasdaq:LOGM), a fairly accurate descriptive name for the company, as its makes software and provides services that allow its customers to access computers while away from the office. The stock was priced at $16, and now trades near $20, giving some investors a nice one-month return.

The REIT Sector saw three offerings in June, but two of the three were not traditional REIT's that investors are familiar with that own Real Estate. Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc (NYSE:IVR), and Cypress Sharpridge Investments, Inc. (NYSE:CYS) are both REIT's that invest in mortgage securities. Cypress Sharpridge is up slightly from its offering, while Invesco Mortgage Capital is about flat.

Government Properties Income Trust (NYSE:GOV) is more of a traditional REIT, and owns millions of square feet of office space that it leases out to the Federal Government. This business model sounds a lot safer as we all know that the government expands every year, and so its need for space should also be expanding.

The company was a part of HRPT Properties Trust (NYSE:HRP) until the offering and HRPT Properties Trust still owns 49.9% of the Government Properties Income Trust.

The initial public offering market goes through cycles like any other part of the market, and is now only emerging from its trough. Investors should start putting this part of the market back on its radar screen for future investment opportunities.

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