El Sitio also posts strong debut, but MotherNature.com grounded
NEW YORK (CNNfn) - FreeMarkets Inc., an online auctioneer that lets businesses bid on industrial parts and raw materials, surged more than 440 percent in its first day of trading Friday, another explosive performance for an initial public offering. Shares of the Pittsburgh-based company surged to 262 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange, rocketing up from the offering price of 48. The company recorded sales of only $7.8 million in 1998.
But investors rushed to buy into the company because of the prospect for massive growth in the business-to-business electronic commerce market, analysts said. Bear Stearns Internet analyst Scott Ehrens, who started FreeMarkets (FMKT) as a "buy,� put a 12-month price target of $300 a share on the company�s stock.
"It is only a matter of time before clients will be pounding on FreeMarkets� door, driving torrid growth for the company," he said.� The Freemarkets IPO follows the soaring debut Thursday of VA Linux Systems Inc. (LNUX), a provider of software and services based on the Linux operating system that is seen as a competitor to Microsoft�s �(MSFT) Windows. VA Linux posted the best opening day ever on Wall Street, surpassing Web community network theglobe.com (TGLO) as the biggest first-day gainer with a nearly 700 percent pop in price.
Shares soared from an opening price of 30 to close at 239-1/4. The stock gave back 9-1/16 to 230-13/16 Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, several other Internet companies went public Friday. Argentina-based El Sitio Inc.
VA Linux IPO in Review
(LCTO), which provides Spanish and Portuguese content for audiences in Latin America and the U.S., rose more than 100 percent. Shares of the company -- whose name is Spanish for "the place� or "the site� -- traded at 33, after pricing at $16 per share. Also, shares of Hillsboro, Ore.-based Medicalogic Inc.
(MDLI), which creates technology to put medical records on the Internet, rose to 24-1/8 from an opening price of 17. But stock in online vitamins, herbs and alternative medicine retailer MotherNature.com Inc. (MTHR), based in Concord, Mass., slipped 15/16 to 12-1/16 in its opening day. Analysts say the consumer side of the online health care arena is becoming increasingly crowded.
Competitors include VitaminShoppe.com Inc.
(VSHP) and online drugstores Drugstore.com Inc. �(DSCM) and PlanetRX.com (PLRX). Another health-related Internet venture aimed at consumers, Web portal HealthCentral.com Inc.
(HCEN), fell flat in its debut earlier this week. Shares traded down 9/16 at 8-1/2 Friday, compared with a debut price of 11.