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Reading the IPO Tea Leaves

A new measure of investor interest is proving surprisingly prescient.
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In my most recent column, I described a method for gauging investor interest in IPOs, based on the total number of visitors to each individual IPO's listing on the ipoPros Web site during the previous week. I wanted to see if there was any correlation between users' interest in a deal and that deal's subsequent performance.

Well, the results are in and I must say that I'm impressed. Of the five deals that ipoPros' users eyeballed most, four were priced, and these finished the week with an average price gain of 101%. Way to pick 'em, people!

Which one was my personal favorite?

Copper Mountain Networks

(CMTN:Nasdaq), which enjoyed a monster 210% gain over its $21 issue price. Another one that, to be candid, I paid too little attention to was the

Maker Communications


deal, which also was priced last week. Maker finished the week up a full 72%, closing Friday at 22 3/8 -- up from the issue price of 13.

Here are the five most-looked-at deals scheduled to be priced this week:

    eToys CAIS Internet At Plan Rubio's Restaurants Tenfold

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Remember, this is just an experiment in tracking the habits of some unidentified Web surfers. As always, read a prospectus before exposing your hard-won dollars to



With that caveat, let me say that I also like the above list. My only complaint is that it's too short: Five is just too small a number to give an accurate portrayal of real reader interest (but then again, I've been accused of "loving them all" at times).

This week looks to be another busy one and is certain to deliver a thrilling ride. I continue to like the Internet deals, especially the ISPs, the providers of hosting solutions and the Internet marketing companies. Although the lack of breadth in the deals continues to concern me, I see no immediate signs of a slowdown in this IPO market.

Let's take a look at the deals to come. (For more information on IPOs, including details on management, financial statements and most recent filings, go to's

IPO databank.)

Ben Holmes is the founder of, a Boulder, Colo.-based research boutique specializing in the analysis of equity syndicate offerings. This column is not meant as investment advice; it is instead meant to provide insight into the methods of new and secondary offerings. Neither Holmes nor his firm has entered indications of interest in any of the companies discussed in this column. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Holmes appreciates your feedback at As originally published, this story contained an error. Please see

Corrections and Clarifications.