Updated from 2:26 p.m. EST

The new-issues market got a second wind Thursday, with five IPOs advancing in their debuts.

The performance, as the deals come from a broad array of sectors, is refreshing after two of three offerings fell below their issue levels Tuesday. "When a variety of companies come public and do well, it is a mark of a healthy market," said Francis Gaskins, editor of IPODesktop.com.

Insurer Assurant ( AIZ) was lately up $2.55, or 11.6%, to $24.55 after pricing 80 million shares at $22 a share in a deal valued at $1.76 billion, the biggest of the year.

According to a prospectus filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Assurant had net income of $263 million in the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2003 on revenue of $5.24 billion. The IPO is a spinoff from Dutch financial-services conglomerate Fortis.

"The Assurant offering is a huge deal," said Gaskins. "The underwriters had to price it well in order to sell it. And so, it came public at a low price-to-earnings ratio." Based on earnings for the first nine months of 2003, Assurant is trading at a multiple of 8.9.

In general, as they emerge from hibernation, IPO investors have favored profitable companies. The market reacted well to a $105 million offering from consumer debt collector Asset Acceptance ( AACC) Thursday. The firm earned $12.1 million in the first nine months of last year. Shares were recently higher $1.50, or 10%, to $16.50.

Even some money-losing names were doing well Thursday. Biotech Renovis ( RNVS) was ahead $2.80, or 23%, to $14.89. "The company has a low price-to-book ratio," said Gaskins.

Meanwhile, Bakers Footwear ( BKRS) was up 48 cents, or 6.19%, to $8.25. The company had a net loss of $3.6 million for the nine months ended October 2003.

Oil and gas driller TODCO ( THE), a $144 million spinoff of Transocean Holdings was lifting $1.40, or 11.7%, to $13.40, though it is unprofitable. "They're the biggest supplier of drilling rigs off the Gulf of Mexico," said Gaskins.

If you liked this article you might like

Hanging on Fed's Every Word

Hanging on Fed's Every Word

Cox Communications Moves to a Loss

Cox Communications Moves to a Loss

A Big Year for Deals Turns Huge

A Big Year for Deals Turns Huge

Newspapers Drive News Corp.

Newspapers Drive News Corp.

MetLife Earnings Surge

MetLife Earnings Surge