Corporate America has raised more than $45 billion through initial public stock offerings this year — the most since 2007. Scratch the surface, though, and there are signs that the market may be ailing. More than a third of the money raised in IPOs this year came from one deal, Facebook's $16 billion offering in May. What's more, the backlog of companies planning to go public is at a three-year low.
Facebook's calamitous market debut in a stock market punctuated by sharp declines — as investors fretted about European debt, the presidential election and, now, a looming "cliff" of tax increases and government spending cuts — has made life tough for IPOs.
The introduction of the JOBS Act in April, which makes it easier for companies to attract funding, has also clouded the market. The law allows companies to avoid disclosing competitively sensitive information and come to the market with much shorter notice.
Still, there are some advantages to a slow IPO market, says Rob Lutts, chief investment officer at Cabot Money Management. When demand is low, only the highest-quality companies are able to attract enough demand to go public.Associated Press