Initial Offering Date

DEFINITION of 'Initial Offering Date '

1. The date at which a security is first made available for public purchase. The initial offering date is set during the underwriting process. For stocks, this marks the date of the initial public offering and the beginning of a quiet period, when insiders and underwriters cannot issue earnings forecasts or research reports on the company. This term also refers to the initial offering of shares in other assets, such as mutual funds and unit investment trusts (UITs).


BREAKING DOWN 'Initial Offering Date '

Historically, stocks have been underpriced leading up to the initial offering date. This can create pent-up demand for shares on the first day of trading, and creates profit potential for those who can subscribe to the issue before the initial offering date. However, buying on the date of offering can be very risky. Because only a small percentage of the outstanding shares (typically less than 25%) are eligible to trade on the first day, share prices can become volatile and more difficult to anticipate.

This same problem does not typically occur with shares of most other assets. Mutual fund or UIT shares are based on a portfolio of established securities with values that are already known in the market.