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The Container Store IPO Didn't Double

Stocks in this article: TCS FB

No. It didn't double for you, unless, of course, you were one of the chosen few to receive IPO shares at the offering price before the stock opened. For all intents and purposes, that leaves practically everybody out of this so-called double. Most investors bought TCS somewhere between $32.10 and $37.00 (as of this writing), which means they're nowhere near a double and have relatively modest realized and/or unrealized capital gains or losses.

But, hey, keep telling everybody the shares doubled. You can fill our collective imagination with hopes for the same performance with Twitter. And, just like we did with Facebook and Container Store, we'll buy shares at the open and hold our breath. That's how the stock market the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) describes as "fair, orderly, and efficient" at its Web site rolls.

Because the SEC's idea of fulfilling its mission "to protect investors" consists of spending countless hours busting people who trade on inside information, not playing off the agency's own words, looking out for the proverbial little guy:

As more and more first-time investors turn to the markets to help secure their futures, pay for homes and send children to college, our investor protection mission is more compelling than ever.

Bull crap. I might use that line next time my wife looks like she's in the mood.

But, wait, there's more from your friendly neighborhood regulatory agency:

The world of investing is fascinating and complex, and it can be very fruitful. But unlike the banking world, where deposits are guaranteed by the federal government, stocks, bonds and other securities can lose value. There are no guarantees. That's why investing is not a spectator sport. By far the best way for investors to protect the money they put into the securities markets is to do research and ask questions.
The laws and rules that govern the securities industry in the United States derive from a simple and straightforward concept: all investors, whether large institutions or private individuals, should have access to certain basic facts about an investment prior to buying it, and so long as they hold it.

Right. Facts that the SEC disseminates in the vacuum of its Web site and through a media obsessed with writing headlines about stocks doubling when, technicalities aside, the spirit of the scenario proves these stocks, most recently TCS, didn't really double after all.

Insider trading doesn't hurt investors, not even the first-timers the SEC claims to protect. Its existence doesn't change your destiny as a retail (or small institutional) investor. But the hype machine that drives misguided buys of speculative IPO shares, not sound long-term stakes in strong companies, does.

Regardless of what happens with Twitter's IPO, the SEC needs to look at the process. It doesn't matter to me if they have before or if large underwriters would balk and go cold on future IPOs governed by a new, more egalitarian set of rules. The people making money, hand over fist, under the present system really don't need the SEC in their corner.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.
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