IPOs come to a screeching halt

The flood of public offerings dries to a trickle as companies wait out the market turmoil.

By MSN Money Partner Apr 11, 2014 12:13PM
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange minutes after a Federal Reserve announcement on January 29, 2014 in New York City
© Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesBy Bob Pisani, CNBC

The tidal wave of initial public offerings has now dried up as the market reels. Out of eight IPOs set to price Thursday night, four got put on hold.

Those that failed to get out the door: Lombard Medical (EVAR) -- which cited the dreaded "poor market conditions," according to Renaissance Capital -- Scynexis (SCYX), Paycom Software (PAYC), and City Office REIT (CIO).

An amended S-1 (called an FWP Amendment) was filed by Paycom, which contained updated information on the first quarter: revenues up, net income down compared to last year. It's not clear if they will be able to price later Friday or not.

This one is not hard to figure out: you need a good stock market at your back to have a strong IPO market, and you haven't had that in the past month.

In particular, IPO after-pricing has suffered because the two hottest sectors -- biotech/pharma and "new tech" -- have been the two sectors slammed the post in post-IPO trading.

The four that did price were a very mixed bag, with pricing below expectations: one at the low end, one in the middle, and one one at the high end. Three were on the NYSE:

  • Fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant Zoe's Kitchen (ZOES) priced 5.8 million shares at $15, high end of the upwardly revised $13 to $15 range; previous talk was $11 to $13
  • Farmland property REIT Farmland Partners (FPI) priced 3.8 million shares -- less than expected -- at $14, low end of the $14 to $16 range
  • Natural gas and crude oil limited partnership Enable Midstream Partners (ENBL) priced 25 million shares at $20, in the middle of the $19 to $21 price talk.

At the Nasdaq, we had food and medicine manufacturer for farm animals Phibro Animal Health (PAHC) price 11.7 million shares at $15, below the $16 to $18 price range.

Where's the so-called market rotation? It's happening, but not in the way some people think.

The obsession -- and yes, it is an obsession -- with biotech and three dozen or so Internet stocks is understandable. However, perhaps it's time to move on and point out that there is in fact a rotation going on.

Yes, there is definitely a move back to dividend-paying names, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) down almost 2 percent in the last 30 calendar days, benchmarks featuring dividend-paying names are outperforming. Look at the action over the last 30 calendar days:

But there's a little more than that going on. I pointed this out yesterday, with stocks like Caterpillar (CAT) and IBM (IBM) holding up quite well. Intel (INTC) and Microsoft (MSFT) are also up in the last month. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)

My point is that as "big momentum" Internet names have slowed, traders have rotated into Old School tech. What do they know? Maybe that they can buy modest growth much cheaper.

Meanwhile, energy names (excluding Big Oil) continue to hold up very well, with the overall sector up almost 3 percent in the last month.

  • Anadarko (APC) up 16 percent
  • Devon Energy (DVN) up 8 percent
  • Schlumberger (SLB) up 6 percent
  • EOG Resources (EOG) up 6 percent
  • Apache (APA) up 4 percent

Wells Fargo (WFC) boasted of good results. Most traders I spoke with emphasized loan growth was in-line with expectations (which is good), and deposits are growing. Also noteworthy were WFC's buyback announcement of 350 million shares, overall (solid) credit trends and, while mortgage originations did drop, it was largely seasonal. For the record, the first quarter is traditionally the weakest, and most believe we should see originations rise at least 20 percent in the second quarter.

More from CNBC

The stock market is going into a mini crash about 30 percent. This is a led into the total collapse that is going to happen on Sept 15, 2015

IPO's = Risk, Dividend payers = Security (For the most part).

I love a hot IPO, and my div payers, but it's confusing as to why the tides are turning. Maybe it's the time to sell before May, or the mid terms, but at some point, reality has to set in on this bloated, fake economy.

Maybe it's now.

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