Tut Is King of IPOs, At Least for Today

Enthusiasm for Net-related IPOs sends Tut Systems up 252% Thursday. Also, Lam Research soars.
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Tut Systems

(TUTS)

is king of the IPO market, for today at least.

In its first day of trading, Tut Systems has climbed as much as 252% from the 18 level where it was priced Thursday. Tut opened at 49 5/8, rose as high as 63 3/8, and was recently trading at 60. That makes it the latest in a string of high-tech offerings that has soared on its initial day of trading.

Interest was high in Tut from a fundamental standpoint and not necessarily from the IPO mania that has characterized buying of Internet IPOs, says Peony Kao, analyst with IPO research firm

Renaissance Capital

. The equipment maker's technology lays on top of existing technology to improve bandwidth, which makes it pretty attractive, she says. It also helps that

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

is an investor in the company.

"When you look at Internet stocks, it's a mania," Kao says. "When you're not looking at Internet stocks, investors are looking more at fundamentals." Kao points to

American Axle

(AXL) - Get Report

, which debuted today but has not veered far from the 17 level where it was priced. She says the auto and truck parts supplier had some problems due to the GM strike last year.

Westell Technologies

(WSTL) - Get Report

and

PairGain Technologies

(PAIR)

are companies with similar products to Tut Systems. Westell was down 1/16 at 7, while PairGain was up 3/4 at 10 3/4.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of Internet companies planning to go public in coming months to meet interest among investors:

iVillage

,

Pacific Internet

,

VerticalNet

and

MiningCo.com

should see good demand when they hit the markets, Kao says.

Earnings and Upgrades

Shares of chip equipment maker

Lam Research

(LRCX) - Get Report

have hit an all-time high following an encouraging earnings report. Lam is up 6 13/16, or 21%, at 39 1/4 after its second-quarter loss was less than expected.

Lam posted a net loss of 64 cents a share excluding charges, down from a profit of 9 cents in the same quarter last year, but up from estimates of a 94-cent loss.

Credit Suisse First Boston

upgraded Lam to buy from hold this morning, while

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

upgraded it to outperform from neutral and

BancBoston Robertson Stephens

upgraded Lam to buy from long-term attractive.

BancBoston also upgraded chip-equipment makers

Advanced Energy Industries

(AEIS) - Get Report

,

Applied Materials

(AMAT) - Get Report

,

Novellus

(NVLS)

and

Teradyne

(TER) - Get Report

to strong buy from buy. Advanced Energy was up 1 3/4 at 28 1/4 around midday. Applied Materials was up 3 5/8 at 62 5/8, Novellus was up 4 5/16 at 72 and Teradyne was up 3 1/2 to 62.

$500 Million Isn't Enough

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

increased the size of its private notes offering to $1.25 billion late Thursday from $500 million, due to strong demand. "You certainly don't increase them if there's weak demand," says Bill Curry an Amazon spokesman. The 4.75% convertible subordinated notes due 2009 will be convertible into the company's common stock at a conversion price of $156.05 per share, a 27% premium over Thursday's closing price.