New Stock Offerings Get Cool Reception

From Times Staff Reports and Reuters

Investors gave lukewarm receptions Tuesday to a number of new stock offerings, suggesting that buyers remain picky despite Wall Street's recovery this year.

Three of four initial public offerings that began trading closed below their offering prices.

Separately, a communications misstep by brokerage Bear Stearns Cos. apparently kept another IPO from coming to market.

Among the new stocks that began trading on Tuesday:

* Regional airline Pinnacle Airlines Corp. (ticker symbol: PNCL) slid to close at $13.30 on Nasdaq after selling 19.4 million shares at $14 each Monday. The company is a spinoff from Northwest Airlines.

* Sirva Inc. (SIR), a relocation services provider, closed at $18.10 on the New York Stock Exchange after selling 21.1 million shares at $18.50 on Monday. The stock rose as high as $19.

* Synnex Corp. (SNX), a computer networking solutions firm, ended at $14.20 on the NYSE after selling 5.4 million shares at $14.50.

* In the day's most popular deal, at least as measured by the stock's price change, Texas appliance and electronics retailing chain Conn's Inc. (CONN) rose to $15.04 on Nasdaq after selling 4.15 million shares at $14 on Monday.

"The IPO market is coming back from its grave and it's done very well over the last year or so," said John Fitzgibbon, IPO analyst at "Nevertheless, there is a degree of caution in here."

Many analysts say it's a healthy sign for the market overall that investors are wary of overpaying for IPOs.

The current IPO revival is a far cry from the market's heyday of 1999 and 2000, when investors bid dot-com IPOs sky-high.

Still, a number of this year's IPOs have risen sharply -- though typically the gains have been achieved over a period of months rather than days.

Telkom South Africa (TKG), Africa's largest phone company, began trading on the NYSE in March and has risen 169% from its IPO, to $37.60 as of Tuesday.

FormFactor Inc. (FORM), a maker of semiconductor components, has jumped from $14 at its IPO in June to $25.42 now.

Some IPOs in the more recent batch have struggled, including biotech issues.

Also on Tuesday, Bear Stearns delayed a new stock offering of software firm Open Solutions Inc. after two employees improperly communicated with potential investors, according to market sources.

The deal had been slated to be priced on Monday.

Ahead of the offering, two Bear Stearns staffers "circulated unauthorized materials to some potential institutional investors, which may have constituted a prospectus that does not meet the requirements of the Securities Act of 1933," Open Solutions said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Bear Stearns employees had summarized the prospectus, which is against securities laws, sources said.

Open Solutions could not be reached for comment and Bear Stearns declined to comment.


IPO hits and misses

Among this year's crop of initial public stock offerings, here are five that are up sharply from their offering prices and five that have slumped.

IPO IPO Tues. Pctg. Company date price close change Accredited Home Lenders 2/13 $8.00 $30.90 +286% Telkom South Africa 3/03 13.98 37.60 +169 Infinity Property/ Casualty 2/11 16.00 34.00 +113 FormFactor 6/11 14.00 25.42 +82 SigmaTel 9/18 15.00 26.68 +78

Advancis Pharmaceutical 10/16 10.00 7.90 -21 CancerVax 10/29 12.00 9.17 -24 NitroMed 11/05 11.00 8.12 -26 InterVideo 7/16 14.00 10.16 -27 Acusphere 10/07 14.00 7.10 -49


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