Don't Pull the Trigger on That Hot New Stock Just Yet

Last week was the busiest for IPOs in 2016, but banner first weeks don't typically bode well for stocks over the intermediate term, data suggests

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:03 PM

As speculators cheered the Fed's decision to stand pat on interest rates -- until December, anyway -- several Wall Street rookies enjoyed a well-timed start to their publicly traded careers last week. It was the busiest week of initial public offerings (IPOs) of 2016, with eight stocks going public, according to Renaissance Capital. Against this backdrop, we decided to crunch the numbers to see if a banner first week of trading has bullish implications over the intermediate term. You might be surprised by the results.

First up, let's review last week's freshmen: digital ad specialist Trade Desk Inc (NASDAQ:TTD), cosmetic retailer ELF Beauty Inc (NYSE:ELF), cloud platform concern Apptio Inc (NASDAQ:APTIO), Chinese data analysis firm Gridsum Holding Inc - ADR (NASDAQ:GSUM), banking stock CapStar Financial Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:CSTR), automotive issue Valvoline Inc (NYSE:VVV), and biotechs Novan Inc (NASDAQ:NOVN) and AC Immune Ltd (NASDAQ:ACIU). All eight finished their first day above their IPO price, with TTD enjoying the best debut session since Twilio Inc (NYSE:TWLO), Renaissance Capital said.

However, according to Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White, the worse the return in the first five days, the better the return over the next six months, on average. Specifically, White looked at optionable stocks that: trade at least a million shares a day; have gone public since 2012; and have generated a six-month return (so, for example, TWLO would not be factored in, as it's only been trading since mid-June). There were 73 stocks that met that criteria.

Stocks that generated a negative return in their first five days of trading -- the majority of the group, with 31 stocks -- averaged the best six-month return of 22.6%, with nearly two-thirds of the group positive six months out. Stocks that generated a first-week return between 0% and 5% saw the highest percent positive six months out -- an impressive 73.7% -- but the average return was smaller at 17.8%. Finally, stocks that had a banner first week, popping 5% or more, averaged a six-month return of just under 12%, with only 56.5% positive.


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For reference, below are the last 20 stocks that met the above criteria. Among the equities that fit under the "negative first week, solid six months" umbrella include: Cyberark Software Ltd (NASDAQ:CYBR) -- which boasts the highest six-month gain of the group, at 81.7%, after dropping 1% its first week, and is still going strong; Momo Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:MOMO), which reversed higher after a rough start; and Wayfair Inc (NYSE:W), which suffered the worst first week on the list, but rocketed to a 27.9% gain over the next six months.

Meanwhile, El Pollo LoCo Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:LOCO) enjoyed the best first five days on the list, rallying nearly 71.5%, only to suffer a six-month loss of 38.5%. Among the stocks bucking the trend entirely were GoPro Inc (NYSE:GPRO), which enjoyed a stellar first week and first six months, and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), which was down both one week and six months after going public.

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