The signs are encouraging for companies that want to make their market debut. The most recent came Wednesday when, riding the housing market recovery, Boise Cascade—a maker of plywood and other building materials—reentered the stock market. Its stock jumped 25 percent on its first day.
Boise Cascade followed the slew of companies that went public last month — it was the biggest January, by amount of money raised, on record dating back to 1993, according to data provider Dealogic. But almost half that money came from the IPO of Zoetis, Pfizer's animal health business. It raised more than $2 billion in the largest IPO since Facebook's $16 billion debut in May.
So far this year, 14 companies have raised $5.7 billion in initial public stock offerings, according to Dealogic. That's up sixfold from $909 million raised by eight companies in the same stretch last year. In all of 2012, 145 IPOs raised $47.2 billion, though IPOs all but dried up late in the year as concern over the "fiscal cliff" mounted. Lawmakers' deal to avert the steep tax increases and spending cuts helped rally the stock market and unthaw the IPO market.
Investors may have been particularly drawn to Boise Cascade and TRI Pointe Homes, up almost 10 percent since its Jan. 31 debut, as a way to bet on the housing recovery. That supports demand for real estate-related IPOs, says Francis Gaskins, president of researcher IPOdesktop. And more are likely coming. Another homebuilder, Taylor Morrison Home, filed documents for an initial public offering in December.Associated Press