1. IPO Basics: Introduction
  2. IPO Basics: What Is An IPO?
  3. IPO Basics: Getting In On An IPO
  4. IPO Basics: Don't Just Jump In
  5. IPO Basics: Tracking Stocks
  6. IPO Basics: Conclusion


Let's say you do get in on an IPO. Here are a few things to look out for.

No History
It's hard enough to analyze the stock of an established company. An IPO company is even trickier to analyze since there won't be a lot of historical information. Your main source of data is the red herring, so make sure you examine this document carefully. Look for the usual information, but also pay special attention to the management team and how they plan to use the funds generated from the IPO.

And what about the underwriters? Successful IPOs are typically supported by bigger brokerages that have the ability to promote a new issue well. Be more wary of smaller investment banks because they may be willing to underwrite any company.

The Lock-Up Period
If you look at the charts following many IPOs, you'll notice that after a few months the stock takes a steep downturn. This is often because of the lock-up period.

When a company goes public, the underwriters make company officials and employees sign a lock-up agreement. Lock-up agreements are legally binding contracts between the underwriters and insiders of the company, prohibiting them from selling any shares of stock for a specified period of time. The period can range anywhere from three to 24 months. Ninety days is the minimum period stated under Rule 144 (SEC law) but the lock-up specified by the underwriters can last much longer. The problem is, when lockups expire all the insiders are permitted to sell their stock. The result is a rush of people trying to sell their stock to realize their profit. This excess supply can put severe downward pressure on the stock price.



Flipping
Flipping is reselling a hot IPO stock in the first few days to earn a quick profit. This isn't easy to do, and you'll be strongly discouraged by your brokerage. The reason behind this is that companies want long-term investors who hold their stock, not traders. There are no laws that prevent flipping, but your broker may blacklist you from future offerings - or just smile less when you shake hands.

Of course, institutional investors flip stocks all the time and make big money. The double standard exists and there is nothing we can do about it because they have the buying power. Because of flipping, it's a good rule not to buy shares of an IPO if you don't get in on the initial offering. Many IPOs that have big gains on the first day will come back to earth as the institutions take their profits.

Avoid the Hype
It's important to understand that underwriters are salesmen. The whole underwriting process is intentionally hyped up to get as much attention as possible. Since IPOs only happen once for each company, they are often presented as "once in a lifetime" opportunities. Of course, some IPOs soar high and keep soaring. But many end up selling below their offering prices within the year. Don't buy a stock only because it's an IPO - do it because it's a good investment.

IPO Basics: Tracking Stocks

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    5 Tips For Investing In IPOs

    Thinking of investing in IPOs? Here are five things to remember before jumping into these murky waters.
  2. Insurance

    IPO Lock-Ups Stop Insider Selling

    Ownership plays a key role when companies go public. Find out how.
  3. Insurance

    5 Tips For Investing In IPOs

    It’s not easy to profit from IPO​s, but the money is there.
  4. Investing

    The Road To Creating An IPO

    Through an Initial Public Offering, or IPO, a company raises capital by issuing shares of stock, or equity in a public market. Generally, this refers to when a company issues stock for the first ...
  5. Insurance

    IPOs For Beginners

    IPO is one of the few market acronyms that almost everyone is familiar with. Discover if IPOS are worth all the attention.
  6. Insurance

    What Does an Underwriter Do?

    In the investment world, an underwriter is a company that helps corporations or other issuing bodies distribute their securities.
  7. Insights

    Why Are Companies Taking Longer To Go Public?

    Learn why private companies are waiting longer to have their IPOs. Understand why it may be more advantageous for a company to stay private.
  8. Investing

    Five Must-Ask Questions Before Taking The IPO Bait

    IPOs often make great discussion but lousy investments. Learn how to avoid getting burned.
  9. Investing

    11 Recent IPOs At Risk Of Running Out Of Cash

    ...
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Depreciation Can Shield Taxes, Bolster Cash Flow

    Depreciation can be used as a tax-deductible expense to reduce tax costs, bolstering cash flow
  2. What schools did Warren Buffett attend on his way to getting his science and economics degrees?

    Learn how Warren Buffett became so successful through his attendance at multiple prestigious schools and his real-world experiences.
  3. How many attempts at each CFA exam is a candidate permitted?

    The CFA Institute allows an individual an unlimited amount of attempts at each examination.Although you can attempt the examination ...
  4. What's the average salary of a market research analyst?

    Learn about average stock market analyst salaries in the U.S. and different factors that affect salaries and overall levels ...
Trading Center