initial public offering market
sprang to life this week, only to ram straight into an
selloff on Friday.
Nasdaq Composite Index down 3% Friday and more than 10% for the month, IPOs in the pipeline are facing the possibility of another dry stretch. After all, the market was hardly welcoming before Friday's setback: The five companies that came public this week (with two more scheduled for Friday) elicited a smattering of interest at best.
Recall that after the Nasdaq's correction in March and April, a number of IPO hopefuls had to pull their issues. "Clearly, if the market is skittish, it's difficult to bring new issues to market," says Tom Peterson, a partner at venture capital firm
El Dorado Ventures
. Still, "This selloff may be more short-lived," he continues, adding that the window for IPOs still appears open as long as tech stocks don't face a prolonged downturn.
So as usual, time will tell. "In the next four to five months, if we actually see revenue expectations not being met and earnings growth slowing, then we'll start questioning the ability of companies to raise money through public funding," says Yusuf Haque, an analyst at financial portal
At the moment, the quality names that have already filed for IPOs -- such as
Advanced Switching Communications
-- will likely go forward with their issues, though they may not get the valuations they wanted, according to Haque. Demand is still strong for CoSine, a maker of switches and software used by service providers to deliver communications between computers and computer systems. It is expected to price Monday. On Friday, the price range for its issue was boosted to $20 to $22, from $15 to $17.
Even so, "If this turns out to be the first of a wave
of selloffs, then investors will be distracted. They'll avoid the IPO market and flock to safety," says George Nichols, a stock analyst at
. "IPOs are not the safe names since most of them are far from profitability."
In that case, potential telecommunications IPOs may be the first ones affected. There are
concerns that network builders lack the cash to spend heavily on equipment, thus puncturing the prospects for companies that make that equipment.
The stronger companies can still survive, though, without tapping the public market. "
doesn't have to go public because its parent can fund it," Haque says of the proposed spinoff of
. "It's only going public because it's trying to take advantage of the valuations of optical component manufacturers."