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U.S. stock market chill threatens to 'put IPOs on ice'

From Reuters - February 9, 2018

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wide swings in the U.S. stock market has blunted initial public offering (IPO) activity on Wall Street in what was set to be the busiest week for new listings in more than two-and-a-half years.

All signs points to the disruption to IPOs continuing.

Ten companies had planned U.S. stock market debuts for this week, according to Renaissance Capital, a manager of IPO-focused exchange traded funds. It would have followed the biggest January haul of IPO proceeds on record, and would have been the most active IPO week since June 2015, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Only six companies went ahead with their IPO due to the volatile stock market, which has sapped much of the investor demand for new listings.

This bodes poorly for companies looking to pull the IPO trigger in the short term.

Forty companies have filed for an IPO with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the past year, aiming to raise an aggregate $9.2 billion, according to data from Renaissance Capital. This does not include so-called confidential IPO filings which are not yet visible on the SECs website.

This volatility has the potential to put IPOs on ice, said Kathleen Smith, principal at Renaissance Capital.

A saving grace for the IPO market is that mid-February typically sees a lull period for new listings. This is because the year-end financial information necessary for filing an IPO by a calendar-year company with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) goes stale in the middle of this month. After that, companies will need to compile and audit a new set of quarterly earnings. Only three IPOs are currently scheduled for next week.

When stability does come back to the market, the IPO market should benefit from a growing domestic and global economy with heightened consumer confidence, said Lear Beyer, co-head of Equity Capital Markets Origination and head of Financial Institutions Group Origination at Wells Fargo & Co.

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