March saw the return of broad market volatility as North Africa and the Middle East slid further into conflict and Japan experienced its devastating earthquake. From 3/1 to 3/16, the VIX Volatility Index jumped 40% while the S&P 500 shed 4%, dropping 2% on 3/16 alone. On the same day, however, the US-based 25 Index actually rose on the back of strong gains from BG Medicine, Inc. (+10%), Endocyte, Inc. (+6%), and MedQuist Holdings Inc. (+6%). While the major indices were locked in a systematic de-risk trade, the US-based 25 Index was able to outperform the major indices and finish the month 3.3% higher.
US-listed IPOs accelerated in February as deal volume more than doubled y/y to sixteen from seven. Activity, however, was heavily concentrated in the first half of the month, as only one IPO priced in the last two weeks of February. Total proceeds for the month rose to $4.3B, from the year-ago $1.2B, on the back of Kinder Morgan’s $2.9B offering. Excluding Kinder Morgan, IPOs are trending smaller, with proceeds averaging $93mm compared with $170mm in the year-ago.
US-listed IPOs recorded a strong opening to the new year. On a year-over-year basis, eight deals priced to last year’s five as proceeds rose five-fold to $3.9B from $732.6M. While the large Nielsen offering ($1.9B) accounted for the lion’s share of total proceeds, even without the deal, US-domiciled issuance rose 87% from the prior year. Meanwhile, proceeds from international issuers listing in the US rose sharply off a smaller comparable.