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Ethanol producer VeraSun( VSE) surged 31% early Wednesday in its New York Stock Exchange debut.

Shares of the Brookings, S.D., corn fueler jumped to $30 early Wednesday. The company priced its 18.3 million-share initial public offering at $23 Tuesday. VeraSun is raising $421 million in the deal, which had been expected to price at $20 to $22 a share.

Up until recently, ethanol stocks like

The Andersons

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have been among the market's top performers. But the marketwide selloff that started last month has crushed these names, with the Andersons down 37% from its spring peak.

The strong performance of VeraSun sounds an encouraging note for Wall Street, which has been hit by a number of poor debuts lately, notably


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. Shares of the Internet phone shop lost 13% their first day and are off 36% in their three weeks on the Big Board.