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Small spike in IPOs signals optimism

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Tess Vigeland:Wall Street is hoping for a jump on second quarter earnings season gets under way on Monday. The Springtime rally convinced many investors that the economy is nearing or has hit bottom. Of course, yesterday's unemployment figures said otherwise. And nobody believes next week's earning with produce big fireworks. But at this point even a backyard sparkler or two could boost hopes of recovery. And here's another sign of optimism. There were five initial public offerings by venture-capital-backed companies in the second quarter. It may not sound like much, but when you're coming out of the desert, even a little water is welcome. Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: Those five initial public offerings in May and June? They compare to just one IPO for the entire previous year. And on Wednesday, just as the third quarter kicked off, the IPO from software company LogMeIn came in 25% above its starting price.So, a sign of things to come? I asked Bob Ackerman of Allegis Capital in Silicon Valley.

BOB ACKERMAN:Are we going to see a land rush of 40 IPOs in the second half? No, I wouldn't expect that.

Keep in mind, even 40 IPOs would have been considered mediocre before the recession hit. Still, Ackerman's what you could call cautiously optimistic. He thinks more companies that venture capitalists have nurtured through the bad times, will launch now.

BOB ACKERMAN:If the markets continue to be reasonably stable, and if we don't have any body blows to the broader economy, I think that you will see momentum continue to build for public companies.

Now, we all remember the heady days of the dot-com boom. Venture capitalist Al Waxman of the Psilos Group says by contrast, today's IPOs will be no-frills affairs with a proven track record.

WAXMAN:I don't think they have to be sexy. I think they have to be growth and earnings machines. I think they have to have business models that people who buy public stocks can understand.

Waxman specializes in healthcare investment. He says these days, we're seeing more money flow to decidedly un-sexy medical device and software companies, and much less go to risky biotech firms that develop drugs.

It seems like right now, investors aren't eager to gamble in this very down-to-earth economic environment.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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