SAN FRANCISCO -- barnesandnoble.com (BNBN:Nasdaq), one of the most talked-about IPOs to debut recently, has finally been launched, but its price action today has been nothing to write home about.
barnesandnoble.com was priced at 18 and opened at 25 1/2 but has only reached a high of 26 1/2. It was lately trading up 6 7/8, or 38%, at 24 7/8.
Any number of factors are preventing barnesandnoble.com from seeing the fat gains many Internet stocks have enjoyed on their first day of trading, according to David Menlow, president of
IPO Financial Network
. Menlow said last week's announcement from
that it would sell books on the
New York Times
bestseller list for 50% off, subsequently matched by barnesandnoble.com and other online booksellers, has increased fears that price wars are going to cut into margins. The next step, he said, could be a cut in prices of books not on the bestseller lists.
Menlow also noted the 25 million shares being offered by the company. He said the fact that roughly two-thirds of the float had changed hands in the first hour of trading was a positive sign and the stock was "holding up well" considering the size of the float. By comparison,
, which debuted last week, had a float of 8.3 million shares.
Menlow also said that barnesandnoble.com is going to evolve, much like Amazon.com, which has expanded its model to incorporate online auctions, online groceries and online drugstores. Financial institutions may be holding back, he said, until more news about the company's plans is known.
"The feeding frenzy" of Internet IPOs "has clearly abated," Menlow said, and the sector has seen more of what happened to
when it debuted in November of last year. theglobe.com reached a high of 48 1/2 in its first day of trading Nov. 13, but it lost roughly half of that its second day. By its third day, it was at 19 1/2. eToys traded to a high of 85 during its debut last Thursday but has had a low of 50 today.
"Investors have a lot of burn marks on their bodies and their wallets, and they aren't chasing
Internet IPOs as aggressively," said Menlow. "With the greater quantity of issues out there, it's lending itself toward investors having to do their homework. It's no longer jumping on the tidal wave and getting a free ride."