RealTime IT News

Calico Unwraps Early Gift

Christmas came early for Calico Commerce, and maybe for Jupiter Communications as well.

While the week isn't over yet -- several Internet IPOs had left the launch pad on Friday -- Calico's Wall Street debut will be hard to surpass.

Pricing 4 million shares at $14 each, Calico jumped up to $40 when trading began Thursday, finishing the day at $56 per share, a clean 300% first-day gain. That's the fourth-highest opening of the year for an Internet company, trailing only MarketWatch.com (MKTW) (474%), Ask Jeeves (ASKJ) (364%) and priceline.com (331%) (PCLN).

Among the companies rolling out IPOs Friday, Internet research firm Jupiter Communications (JPTR), offering 3.13 million shares at $21 each, opened at $36 per share, hitting $39.63 by early afternoon.

Internet postage company E-Stamp (ESTM) opened at $30 after offering 7 million shares at $17 each, but by early afternoon the stock had fallen to $25.44.

Web content management software provider Interwoven (IWOV) opened impressively at $43 after offering 3.15 million shares at $17 each. By midafternoon, shares had slipped to $40.50.

And online retailer VitaminShoppe.com (VSHP), pricing 4.55 million shares at $11 each, came out at $11.13 before dipping to $10.25 by midafternoon.

Though I predicted a moonshot for this IPO on Tuesday, admittedly it wasn't the boldest of predictions, given the reception e-commerce software and services companies have been given of late by investors.

On the other hand, you can never assume anything. Take DSL.net (DSLN), which went public on Wednesday. The company is an infrastructure player, the only market rivaling business-to-business e-commerce as a favorite among investors. IPOs from other DSL companies, such as Rhythms NetConnections Copper Mountain Networks, soared in their trading debuts.

DSL.net also recently received a blessing from Microsoft, which in August invested $15 million in the company, which targets small and medium-sized businesses in cities with populations below 1 million.

But its barely moved Wednesday. Offering 7.2 million shares at $7.50, DSL.net saw its stock open at $8 before crawling up to $8.50 by the time the closing bell sounded.

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