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Three California Firms Soar in Their Trading Debuts

Sequenom, Quantum Effect and Turnstone Systems are stellar performers today.

Three California companies reached dreamy heights Tuesday as their stocks skyrocketed in their first minutes of trading.

Turnstone Systems


jumped 69, or 239%, to 98 around midday. (It closed up 68 3/16, or 235%, at 97.)




surged 50 1/2, or 193%, to 76 1/2. (It closed up 53 1/4, or 205%, at 79 1/4.)

Quantum Effect Devices


joined the others just after noon, rising 187%, or 30 1/16, to 46 1/16. (It closed up 40 7/16, or 253%, or 56 1/2.)

Turnstone, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., wires local telephone companies to set up and manage high-speed digital voice and data services over local copper phone lines between the phone company and the subscriber's home or office.

Together with lead underwriter

Goldman Sachs

, Turnstone raised $87 million on the sale of 3 million shares. Betting that last year's sprinting IPO market would have endurance, the company raised its initial offering price to $29 from a range of $15-$17.

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Turnstone's customers include

Rhythms NetConnections



Network Access Solutions



MGC Communications

. The company also has a marketing alliance with

Lucent Technologies



Rhythms NetConnections and Network Access Solutions together accounted for about 60% of Turnstone's revenues in 1999.

Sequenom, which is based in San Diego, benefited as the demand for technology issues spilled over into biotechnology. The company raised $138 million by offering 5.3 million shares with the help of lead underwriter

Warburg Dillon Read

. Sequenom was initially slated to go off for about $17, but its offering price was increased to $26 as institutional demand strengthened for its gene sequencing technology.

Sequenom primarily analyzes variations in DNA through a process called spectronomy which could lead to drugs that will improve human health, agricultural yields, or livestock production. Sequenom is currently testing this technology at



, the

U.S. Department of Agriculture

and the

National Institutes of Health


Quantum Effect, based in Santa Clara, Calif., makes high-speed microprocessors, or chips, used in computers, networking infrastructure equipment and other communications equipment.

The company and

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

, the primary underwriter for the transaction, brought in $48 million on 3 million shares. Quantum Effect increased its initial offering price to $16 from the $10-$12 range as institutional investors opened their arms and wallets to the chip maker.

The chip company with $15.4 million in 1999 fiscal sales, wades into a market with aggressive big players like


(INTC) - Get Intel Corporation (INTC) Report


Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Report


It is focusing on the high-end markets like internetworking, Windows CE, high-speed printers, games, Internet TV and high-speed communications devices.

Quantum Effect will have to quickly build and diversify its customer base to meet the cutthroat challenges. Currently,

WebTV Networks

accounts for about a quarter of sales in the sector,

Cisco Systems

(CSCO) - Get Cisco Systems, Inc. Report

brings in 15% of sales and

EchoStar Communications

(DISH) - Get DISH Network Corporation Class A Report

another 10%. Quantum Effect receives royalties from fellow chip maker

Integrated Device Technology

, which account for 20% of sales.