IPOs paid out huge returns for Wall Street investors in 2020written by Bella Palmer
It is a stunning result in a year that saw stocks plunge amid the COVID-19 pandemic, then turn around and scale fresh highs
Wall Street investors with access to newly listed stocks at their exclusive IPO prices reaped huge returns in 2020, while retail investors who generally miss out on the best prices still made tidy gains.
Shares of companies that went public via IPOs or direct listings this year on average have surged 75%, with corporations that have yet to report a profit jumping more than twice as much as those with positive bottom lines, according to a Reuters analysis.
It is a stunning result in a year that saw stocks plunge when the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spread in the spring and communities across the country went into lockdown, then turn around and scale fresh highs. In addition, companies seeking to list shares have been embraced on expectations they will benefit from low interest rates, eventual economic recovery and a rollout of vaccines.
The analysis includes about 200 companies that held IPOs in the United States this year, and a handful of direct listings from companies such as Asana and Palantir Technologies. About 70% of the companies listing their shares this year are not run profitably, according to Refinitiv data and company filings.
Underwriters reserve most of the new shares in strong IPOs for top institutional investors, mostly cutting out small investors who can buy shares only once they start trading.
Brokerage Citadel Securities has said that retail investors have accounted for as much as 25% of stock market activity in 2020.
The large gap between average returns based on IPO prices and returns based on closing prices of the first day of trading underscores the advantages enjoyed by institutional investors on Wall Street.
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