Facebook afterglow lights up IPO markets

Wed Feb 8, 2012 2:44pm EST
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By Ashutosh Pandey

(Reuters) - The excitement generated by Facebook's IPO filing rubbed off on companies listing on U.S. stock exchanges on Wednesday, with four of them seeing strong first-day gains.

Caesars Entertainment Corp (CZR.O: Quote), one of the largest casino operators in the United States, led the gains, with its shares nearly doubling on the Nasdaq.

Shares of EPAM Systems Inc (EPAM.N: Quote), Roundy's Parent Co Inc RNDY.N and ChemoCentryx Inc (CCXI.O: Quote) also soared, with investors expecting more companies to cash in on the momentum in the U.S. stock markets and a window of opportunity pried open by Facebook's IPO plans.

"The positive momentum is going to continue and most of the interest is going to be on mid cap to large cap IPOs, with good brand names," Josef Schuster, founder of IPOX Schuster, a fund that specializes in investing in newly public companies, told Reuters.

"The Facebook IPO is coming up, and it is going to open the window of opportunity for other deals."

Facebook filed to raise a targeted $5 billion in a much-anticipated initial public offering last week, but analysts estimate it could tap investors for $10 billion, valuing the company at $100 billion.

Caesars shares were trading up 81 percent at $16.25. The high volatility in the stock is being seen as a function of the small size of the offering, which is just 1.4 percent of the company's total outstanding shares.

IT services provider EPAM Systems' shares rose 25 percent to $15.05 in early trade, making them one of the biggest gainers on the New York Stock Exchange.   Continued...