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Finance and Economics Discussion Series
The Finance and Economics Discussion Series logo links to FEDS home page Initial Public Offerings in Hot and Cold Markets
Jean Helwege and Nellie Liang

Abstract: Asymmetric information models characterize hot IPO markets as periods when better quality firms have an incentive to issue equity, and cold markets when the lemons premium associated with equity is too high to draw in many issuers. Recent empirical evidence, however, suggests that firms that issue in hot markets are a major source of stock price underperformance of equity issuers. We investigate these opposing views with data on IPO firms that issued in 1983, a hot market, and 1988, a cold market. We find that the two sets of firms have similar operating performance, but stock returns are worse for firms that went public in the hot market. Our results are largely consistent with investor overoptimism in hot markets, but not with the asymmetric information models.

Keywords: Initial public offerings, stock price underperformance, asymmetric information

Full paper (3151 KB PDF)

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Last update: July 16, 1997