By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Marketing automation firm Klaviyo’s shares closed well below their first-day high on Wednesday, while a slump in the stocks of Arm Holdings and Instacart added to doubts over whether a hoped-for new-listings revival would materialize.
The high-profile listings have put investor focus back on the initial public offering (IPO) market after a nearly 18-month dry spell, but it may still be a tough time for offerings given high interest rates and recent declines in the broader U.S. stock market, said some investors and market participants.
“Investment bankers that help to take companies public are pushing the strong debut of Arm and Instacart… saying this is a great time to go public,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Dakota Wealth in Fairfield, Connecticut.
“The Street is telling them, hey, this is not the greatest environment.”
Chip designer Arm’s stock on Wednesday hit a low of $51.52, coming close to its $51 IPO price in this year’s biggest IPO last Thursday. The shares closed down 4.1% at $52.91.
Shares of grocery delivery app Instacart, which debuted Tuesday, fell to a low of $29.96, below their $30 IPO price. Instacart, formally known as Maplebear, ended down 10.7% at $30.10 on the session.
Klaviyo also surrendered most of its initial gains, hitting a low for the day of $30.26, just above its $30 IPO price. The stock hit an intraday peak of $39.47 and closed at $32.76, up 9.2%.
All three major U.S. stock indexes ended lower on Wednesday, with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warning that the battle against inflation was far from over and underscoring investor worries that interest rates will remain high. The Nasdaq is down more than 2% from a week ago.
“The Nasdaq’s having a weak moment, and investors are looking to rotate into oil and things that haven’t worked previously … and the tech trade is being sold off,” said Jake Dollarhide, CEO of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Interest from short sellers in bets on Arm also has been picking up, with 8.83 million shares “on loan,” representing about 5% of the stock’s free float, data and analytics company Ortex said on Wednesday. That was up from 5.12 million shares on loan, or 2.7% of the stock’s free float, on Tuesday.
Short sellers need to borrow a stock to short it, and the relationship between shares on loan and shorted is normally quite close, Ortex said.
Still, newly-listed companies tend to be volatile in the wake of their market debuts, especially if they have low floats, like Arm, which listed roughly 10% of its total shares.
Arm and Instacart were “pumped up to do the IPO,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. “People bought the stock. Some people instantly turn around and sell the stock for whatever profits they can get after a day or two” as the stocks establish a base, he noted.
But high interest rates remain a concern, especially for IPOs in growth sectors. Investors may be wondering whether current economic conditions can continue to support the elevated valuations of the IPOs, said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; additional reporting by Savyata Mishra and Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Lewis Krauskopf in New York and Noel Randewich in San Francisco; editing by Lance Tupper, Michelle Price and Marguerita Choy)