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What’s behind the boom in IPOs?

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The New York Stock Exchange stands in lower Manhattan on January 3, 2019.

According to Dealogic, the amount of money raised through IPOs in 2021 has already surpassed the total in 2020, and it's only June. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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There’s been a boom in initial public offerings this year. New data from the research company Dealogic finds that the amount of money raised through IPOs this year, more than $173 billion, has already surpassed all of the money raised through IPOs in 2020, and it’s only June.

When you look at the type of companies that have gone public this year, a lot of them are in sectors that have done well during the pandemic, like companies that deal with “remote learninggamingdigital payments and e-commerce and all that stuff,” said Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners.

It’s also just been a good time for stocks in general. Kathleen Smith, a founder of Renaissance Capital, which tracks IPOs, said the market’s been pushed up in large part by low interest rates. That’s made investors more eager to plow money into these newly listed companies because it means “returns for investors,” Smith said. “That’s the fuel that drives the IPO issuance engine.”

The only fear, according to Smith, is whether inflation and higher interest rates could slow down the stock market and scare off investors. “Because they’ll push back and say, ‘Wait a minute. Why be here if I’m not able to make good returns?'”

Meanwhile the boom in IPOs is likely to continue. Smith said she’s tracking over 130 companies that are waiting to go public.

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