Secondaries Still Slumping

In this tough environment, even solid offerings by Safeguard Scientifics and Internap Network are having trouble.
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Here are this week's secondary offerings, and I'm sorry to say, they look just as nasty as they did last week. There's nothing more to this story than what you are hearing on the tube: The


is in the hurt-box and it's not getting any better. Doom and gloom? Me? For the time being, yes.

I've always been of the mind that, when things get sharp and dangerous in the new issues market, it's best to stay away, at least until they clean up the blood. You cannot short the IPOs, and shorting the secondaries can cost you a limb, or worse. In case any of you are tempted by the clever idea to short them and cover the short with deal stock, forget about it. This is illegal, and is pretty easy for the


to track.

So, here they are. Buy them if you must, but don't say I didn't warn you.


  • LOOKS GOOD -- This is the highest rating I assign to any follow-on deal. I expect these deals to produce a significant premium bid.
  • LOOKS SHOT (i.e. it has a shot at performing well) -- The LOOKS-SHOT rating is a coin toss, usually decided by where the deal is priced relative to its previous close. Pricing at the previous closing price is likely to lessen any chance of a premium, while a significant discount tends to help a stock's chances of delivering a profit.
  • LOOKS FLAT -- A LOOKS-FLAT rating is given to those deals where I feel a premium bid is unlikely, but downside to the stock's price is minimal. These deals are suitable candidates for what I call "payback" trades and "favors."
  • LOOKS WEAK -- A LOOKS-WEAK rating is assigned to those follow-on deals where the stock's price has lost some ground and shows signs of getting worse. I feel that these deals carry a measure of risk, but if priced correctly, may work.
  • LOOKS RISKY --This is the lowest rating I assign to any follow-on deal, and is usually given to those deals whose stock price has dropped significantly since the financing was announced. These deals bring with them unwarranted market risk.

Ben Holmes is the founder of , a Boulder, Colo.-based research boutique (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of 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. Holmes' This Week in IPOs column appears Sundays, This Week's Secondaries appears Tuesdays, Upcoming Lockup Expirations appears Wednesdays and The Quiet Period appears on Fridays. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Holmes appreciates your feedback at