Here we are starting the second week of January and not an IPO in sight. Just because deals aren’t floating into the market like snowflakes ahead of a blizzard doesn’t mean the new-issue market is dead. The question is: Could it be market conditions or could it be a seasonal factor?
By now the whole world knows 2008 went into the record books as the worst year for stocks since 1931. And when the stock market tanks, IPOs disappear. While everybody has been bad-mouthing the stock market, the bull may have quietly slipped back in town.
By December’s third week, the IPO market has traditionally run its course. The bad news in 2008 was it was finished on Nov. 11, when Grand Canyon Education (Nasdaq: LOPE) (quote, news, chart & competitors) priced its IPO. The good news was bankers were giving IPO investors a message – a big message.
With the three major U.S. stock market indexes down anywhere from 35 percent to 42 percent for the year, you won’t see any IPO filings from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s filing window. The only traffic has been withdrawals and secondary offerings. Last week was an example.
If a kid brought home a report card like 2008’s IPO Scorecard (see below, left-hand side of home page), there might be trouble. If the kid happened to be a college student, though, there might not be — if the professor graded on the curve.
During the first two weeks of December, bankers traditionally ride through the valley of IPOs — deals to the right of them, deals to the left of them and deals in front of them — but not this year, due to market conditions.
The first IPO to be priced in 104 days crashed on take-off. It should have come as no surprise if one had been reading the early warning signs -– an old axiom dating back decades — “cut a deal, cancel my order!”
There was a glimmer of hope for the IPO market on Monday when three companies filed to go public, the first filings since late September, and the calendar boasted an IPO for the week of November 17, the first since mid-August.
There’s no question that IPOs love Democratic presidents. Over the last four decades, the new-issue traffic runs 34 percent higher than “average” when a Democratic president resides in the White House and 15 percent below “average” when the GOP occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.