The IPO Buzz: 2019’s Unlikely Year-End Moonshot

The IPO market closed out 2019 last week with an unexpected opening-day moonshot. That was like a glass of complimentary Champagne just before the blank IPO Calendar for this holiday week, which includes Hanukkah and Christmas.

The year-end moonshot came out of the blue last Thursday when Monopar Therapeutics (MNPR) scored an opening-day gain of 231 percent. (A moonshot is an opening-day gain of 100 percent or more.) Surprisingly, the deal had a tough time getting out the door.

Monopar, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing a proprietary drug to treat the severe mouth sores of cancer patients, filed on Sept. 12, 2019, to offer 4.4 million shares at $8 to $10 each. The deal landed on the IPO Calendar to start trading on Friday, Sept. 27. That never happened. The deal was postponed. And it promptly went into hiding.

Fast forward to Nov. 4: Monopar posted an updated filing with the SEC. The deal’s size was cut to 2.2 million shares with the price range remaining at $8 to $10 each, but no pricing date was set. Nothing happened.

Zoom ahead to Dec. 13, when Monopar posted yet another updated filing with the SEC. Once again, the deal was cut. This time, the IPO was slashed to 1.1 million shares – still at $8 to $10 each – and the pricing date was set for Dec. 18. That got the deal out the door. Yes indeed, cutting the IPO’s size to 1.1 million shares from 4.4 million shares got it done – at $8 a share – but the fun was only starting.

On Dec. 19, the Monopar IPO opened at $8.35 and took off. The stock sold as high as $27.76 and closed at $26.50, up 231.25 percent from its IPO price of $8. The next day, Dec. 20, the IPO soared another $21.50 to sell at an intraday high of $48 before losing some altitude and closing at $27, up 237.5 percent from its IPO price.

Neither the financial press nor the IPO experts had an explanation for Monopar’s opening-day moonshot. Nevertheless, Monopar’s price action gave a clue to the IPO market’s overall performance in 2019

A Better-Than-Expected Year

The IPO market in 2019 was better than some thought. To gauge the IPO aftermarket’s performance this year, check out the 2019 Pricings data on This information is available to all users.

Go to the home page of and click on Pricings, the second column from the right. Scroll down to 2019 Pricings and click. The scorecard pops up for the 153 IPOs priced in 2019, sorted by offer date, which is the first day of trading. (Unit offerings and some other types of offerings are excluded.) The scorecard uses the previous day’s close as the benchmark.

Once you have the 2019 Pricings chart up, click on Return, the second tab from the right, and the list is sorted in terms of the worst to the best. Click on Return again and you get the list sorted in terms of the best to the worst.

Here’s the revelation: As of Friday’s close, Dec, 20, 2019, eight IPOs had closed over 200 percent above their initial public offering prices, and another nine had closed over 100 percent above their IPO prices.

That works out to 11.1 percent of 2019’s IPOs gaining more than 100 percent from their initial public offering prices, as of Friday’s close.

Note: excludes the following “IPOs” from its head count: Bank conversions, “best effort” offerings, Regulation A+ offerings (which are usually “best effort” offerings), “blank checks” or special-purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), closed-end funds, companies trading on the pink sheets moving up to the NASDAQ, and those foreign-traded securities making their debuts in the U.S. capital markets. The latter are public offerings. Investors can buy the underlying shares on foreign exchanges before their U.S. pricing dates.

New Year’s Week

For the week of Dec. 30th, the IPO Calendar is as clean as the snow on the ski slopes at dawn. New Year’s Day is on Wednesday, Jan. 1, ushering in 2020 and breaking up a week when many bankers will still be off for the holidays.

But a few names could slip onto the IPO Calendar when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s filing window opens for business on Monday, Dec. 23rd.

Happy Holidays

At press time, no IPOs were set for pricing this week. Wall Street is likely to be sparsely populated, with Hanukkah beginning at sundown on Sunday, Dec. 22nd, and Christmas falling on Wednesday. The New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ will close at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 24th, in observance of Christmas Eve. The U.S. stock market will be open on Thursday and Friday. But many traders and bankers are likely to take the week off.

To our readers and subscribers, we wish you safe travels if you’re on the road and “Happy Holidays!” from all of us at

Disclosure: Neither the author nor anyone else on the staff has a position in any stocks mentioned, nor do we trade or invest in IPOs. The author and staff do not issue advice, recommendations or opinions.