A slow stretch for new stock offerings

The first quarter was the slowest for initial public offerings (IPOs) in more than a decade.

Only 25 companies went public in the first three months of 2001, a low unseen since the fourth quarter of 1990, when 19 initial public offerings were completed, according to figures provided by Thomson Financial Securities Data.

More than $7 billion was raised from IPOs in the first quarter, compared with $16.9 billion in the same period a year ago, when more than 100 companies went public.

Most of the first-quarter IPO proceeds, however, were the result of two spinoffs: KPMG Consulting Inc., and Agere, a Lucent spinoff. The two new companies contributed $5.6 billion to the total.

The deal flow is unlikely to pick up anytime soon, fund managers and analysts say.

"The market won't pick up until Nasdaq can stabilize and start to show it can hold above the levels where it is now," says Alan Loewenstein, assistant portfolio manager of the John Hancock Technology Fund, with $1.3 billion under management.

Investors have turned to established technology companies, rather than riskier new public companies.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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