In the U.S., the top three performers in 2009 were out of China: water-treatment equipment maker Duoyuan Global Water Inc., online gaming company Changyou.com Ltd. and Lihua International Inc., which makes magnet wire and fine copper for use in electronics. All have at least doubled from their offering price.
Specialty chemicals maker Chemspec International Ltd. and clinical stage biotechnology company Omeros Corp. earned the dubious distinction of biggest losers among 2009 IPOs, each having fallen about 27 percent from their offering price. Chemspec, which went public in June, lowered its fiscal 2009 outlook due to low global demand. Omeros fell as it received no Food and Drug Administration approvals.
Among the biggest disappointments of 2009 was Rosetta Stone Inc., which debuted in April rising nearly 40 percent on its first trading day. The seller of language learning software canceled a secondary public stock offering in August, and in November said its U.S. consumer business was showing signs of weakness. The stock ended the year just 5 cents off its offering price of $18.
How well a company did this year seemed to mostly depend on timing and profitability, Gaskins said. Looking forward, there aren't any oil and gas companies in a position to list, he said, though there may be a few spin-offs of those that have already gone public. Meanwhile, the solar sector isn't expected to shine in the IPO market next year as supply exceeds demand.