SAN FRANCISCO -- While not taking off to the stratosphere like many of their brethren, high-tech IPOs were in positive territory, which can't be said for much of the market.
After Thursday's strong showings from
, three more high-tech IPOs began trading today and were also showing positive returns.
, which makes electronic payment software, was up 7 1/2 at 20 1/2 around midsession after being priced at 13.
, a developer of customer management software, was up 8 1/21/4 at 21 1/2, while
, a software provider for information technology managers, was up 4 1/16 at 17 1/16.
Paul Bard, analyst with the
IPO fund, said the continued strong showing of the IPOs was a combination of demand for any IPO, particularly Internet IPOs, and his belief that many of the new issues are good companies.
"We're seeing some strong deals come to market, and there's a lot of demand," said Bard. "There was a lack of supply until the last couple of weeks, so there was a lot of demand built up there."
Analysts have been concerned about oversupply, which they have said could derail the high-tech sector. Bard said that supply, along with lower-quality offerings, could lead to a slowdown in the IPO market.
Bard said there were nine IPOs in January, roughly equaling the eight IPOs from last January. In February, he said there have been 21 so far vs. 31 from last February, and he expects the month to end with around 35 IPOs.
For those attempting to trade the IPOs, Bard recommends waiting an hour or two after the companies begin trading to see how the stock settles in and not to place market orders for an opening trade. A number of IPOs have peaked on the open and never reached the opening price again.
"There's no doubt that retail investors should be cautious in going into the after-market. There's a lot of volatility out there," said Bard. "On one hand, there's opportunity to make money in a short period of time, but there's a lot of risk there when you have a volatile market."
And how about Thursday's IPOs? All three remain well above where they were priced, but are not as strong today. VerticalNet was down 2 1/2 at 42 7/8. Prodigy was up 7 13/16, or 25%, at 35 1/4, while Healtheon was down 2 3/4 at 28 5/8 after reaching a high of 35 1/16 earlier in the session.
Final Word on Dell
Credit Suisse First Boston
analyst Michael Kwatinetz has watched the decline in
today and sees one thing: a buying opportunity. He went out on a limb in saying that Dell "will be trading higher" Wednesday than it is today after its earnings report comes out Tuesday.
His comments follow cautionary words from
BancBoston Robertson Stephens
analyst Dan Niles that Dell revenue could be less than originally believed, with Niles slapping a three-month price target of $80 on the stock.
"I would actually be a buyer today. When you have a call out there like you did today, expectations are more realistic than they were yesterday," Kwatinetz said.
Kwatinetz said he did not have the same thought when the stock was trading at 110 earlier this month "and expectations were through the roof," but he does see some value at current prices. Dell was recently trading 10 5/8 lower at 91 1/4.