Home About Archives RSS Feed

The Independent Investor: What You Need to Know (But Don't) About Buying an IPO

By Bill SchmickiBerkshires columnist
An initial public offering of a stock, called an IPO, can be either a sucker's game or a chance for instant riches. Determining the outcome requires a great deal of work, knowledge, and luck. Most investors have none of the above when it comes to IPOs.
 
I want to share with you a recent conversation I had with a conservative client (a vegetarian and yoga teacher) on this subject.
 
"I want to buy some stock of this company that makes a vegetarian form of hamburgers. How do I do it?" she asked.
 
"Why do you want to buy it?" I asked, before explaining the mechanics of such a purchase.
 
"Well, it tastes really good, all my friends love them, so I'm sure it's going to be a great stock since more and more people will switch to this healthy choice of food."
 
What's wrong with this picture?
 
No. 1, her analysis is full of holes. Her first mistake is failing to recognize three crucial differences. A good product does not necessarily translate to healthy corporate profits. Many a company with a good product has failed miserably because they did not have the knowledge, experience and financial acumen to make a go of it as a public company in a competitive marketplace.
 
No. 2, it does not necessarily follow that a company with good fundamentals will also perform well in the stock market. There are thousands of cases throughout financial history where companies that IPO never again reach their offering price.
 
And three, if you think it is hard enough to analyze the fundamental valuation and technical position of an already-established public company, imagine the difficulty in trying to do the same for a company with no historical data, and even worse, that sells a new or innovative product that is little understood.
 
Let's look at some of the other mistakes in financial logic my client is making. How many vegetarians are there in the U.S. versus meat eaters? The latest research (2017) put the number at 7.3 million Americans or 3.2 percent of the country's population. That's not a very big market, but she believes that once more people "discover" this non-meat burger, they too will find religion and give up meat.
 
Going public, however, won't change that. This particular company is already distributing its products (non-meat, non-chicken and non-sausage) in dozens of national food chains and stores throughout the nation and overseas.
 
She also needs to recognize that if this plant-based array of products is so good, competitors won't just sit still, they will imitate and offer their own plant-based products. In this case, it is already happening. Burger King is marketing a meatless "Impossible Burger." Reports indicate it is at least as tasty as my client's company's product.
 
Buyers of IPOs should also be aware that these offerings are normally handled by big brokerage houses that know how to promote a new issue and will, for a short time, support its price. Normally, brokers insist that company insiders have a "lock-up" period for a few months before owners and employees can sell their stock. When the lock-up period is over, an avalanche of sell orders hits the market. A look at most IPO stock prices a few months after going public shows a steep drop in price, most often well below the offering price.
 
Some retail investors don't care because they are planning to "flip" the stock. You buy the IPO after it begins to trade (usually at a higher price than the initial offering price), and then sell it for a profit over the next few days. That's where your luck comes in. Your odds of making money are equal to how much hype there is surrounding the stock.
 
Don't be fooled, some IPOs do skyrocket and never look back. You can take your chances, or have some patience, wait a few weeks or months and then, after doing your homework, make your investment. It's not as exciting, but it has been proven to be a better investment style over time.
 
Bill Schmick is registered as an investment adviser representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $400 million for investors in the Berkshires.  Bill's forecasts and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. Direct inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com.
0 Comments
     

Support Local News

We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.

How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

News Headlines
Gov. Baker Gives Final State of the Commonwealth Address
Mayor Rejects Mohawk Theater Bid, Makes Plans for New RFP
Lever's Berkshire Interns Program Workshops
'RUNWAY' Painting Exhibition to Open at BCC
Pittsfield Panel OKs Free Cash for Airport Easement Acquisition Project
'Cloudy With a Chance of Murder' Review
Two Named to SVHC Foundation Northshire Regional Advisory Board
Cheshire Annual Census Mailed
Dalton Select Board Votes in Favor of Town Salary Increases
Does your business have an exit strategy?
 
 


Categories:
@theMarket (397)
Independent Investor (451)
Retired Investor (76)
Archives:
January 2022 (6)
January 2021 (2)
December 2021 (9)
November 2021 (7)
October 2021 (8)
September 2021 (9)
August 2021 (6)
July 2021 (8)
June 2021 (6)
May 2021 (6)
April 2021 (9)
March 2021 (8)
February 2021 (8)
Tags:
Selloff Pullback Election Energy Jobs Markets Currency Recession Federal Reserve Congress Banks Debt Rally Metals Euro Crisis Interest Rates Bailout Greece Oil Fiscal Cliff Commodities Retirement Europe Stocks Europe Economy Wall Street Stock Market Deficit Taxes Housing Debt Ceiling Japan Stimulus
Popular Entries:
The Retired Investor: The Hawks Return
The Retired Investor: Has Labor Found Its Mojo?
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
Independent Investor: Europe's Banking Crisis
The Retired Investor: Time to Hire an Investment Adviser?
The Retired Investor: Climate Change Is Costing Billions
@theMarket: Let the Good Times Roll
The Retired Investor: My Dog's Medical Bills Are Higher Than Mine
@theMarket: One Down, One to Go
@theMarket: Quarter Ends With a Bang
Recent Entries:
@theMarket: Corporate Guidance Sends Stocks Lower
The Retired Investor: A New Female Fed
@theMarket: Beware the Hikes of March
The Retired Investor: No-Shows Threaten Economy
@theMarket: Fed Meeting Notes Throw Markets a Curve
The Retired Investor: My Dog's Medical Bills Are Higher Than Mine
@theMarket: Markets Up on Thin Holiday Trading
The Retired Investor: Climate Change Is Costing Billions
@theMarket: Markets Are Heading for Trouble
The Retired Investor: Time to Hire an Investment Adviser?