initial public offerings (IPOs) trading on American exchanges

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Best Performing IPOs of the Year

CureVac (CVAC), which was the screen’s best-performing IPO and had a total return of 596.75%. CureVac specializes in the messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology that is the basis of several leading Covid-19 vaccine programs. The German biotech company went public in August at $16 a share and soared 249% in its first day, with the stock closing at $55.90. In January, CureVac struck a deal with Bayer to accelerate the development and supply of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The company’s mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccine is now in clinical trials, and Phase2b/3 data is expected this summer. Since its IPO, the stock has nearly doubled, closing Friday at $111.48 .

Company Name (As Reported)SymbolOffer DateOffer Price (USD)Total % Return From Offer Price
CureVac BVCVAC14-Aug-202016.00596.75
Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd.ZIM27-Jan-202115.00209.33
Academy Sports & Outdoors, Inc.ASO01-Oct-202013.00181.00
Dream Finders Homes, Inc.DFH20-Jan-202113.00144.38
BigCommerce Holdings, Inc.BIGC04-Aug-202024.00126.63
MediaAlpha, Inc.MAX28-Oct-202019.00122.74
Yalla Group Ltd.YALA30-Sep-20207.50107.60
Li Auto, Inc.LI30-Jul-202011.50102.61
CPG Newco LLCAZEK11-Jun-202023.0089.26
Corsair Gaming, Inc.CRSR23-Sep-202017.0083.65
Unity Software, Inc.U17-Sep-202052.0081.65
Source: FactSet. Data as of May 29.

Strong performances need not be dictated by success on the first day of trading. Four of the companies that made our list were busted deals—meaning that their shares fell below their IPO prices on the first day of trading.

Case in point: ZIM Integrated Shipping (ZIM). The asset-light shipping company went public in January with a $15 offering price, but closed that day at $11.50. Yet by May 19, ZIM’s stock had gained 295% after it reported first-quarter earnings of $589.6 million, or $5.35 a share. The company also declared a special cash dividend of $2 a share. ZIM is the second-best-performing IPO in the past 12 months, based on a total return of 209.33%, according to FactSet. It closed on Friday at $46.40.

Another example is Academy Sports & Outdoors (ASO): The company went public in October with a $13 offering price, with the stock closing at $12.99 during its first day of public trading. Academy was profitable when it went public, a rarity in the IPO market. In March, the company reported that its net income soared 416%, to $91.5 million, or 97 cents a share, for its fourth fiscal quarter ended Jan. 30. Its shares have nearly tripled since the IPO, and were trading at $36.53 on Friday. Academy Sports ranks third with a total return from the offering price of 181%, FactSet said. 

Rounding out this category are Corsair Gaming (CRSR), a California company that makes performance gear for gamers, and the Dubai-based Yalla Group (YALA), which makes a voice-chat app used in the Middle East and North Africa called Yalla. Both stocks have rebounded strongly after less-than-stellar September IPOs.

Some companies that made our list soared during their debuts, but have since seen their shares retreat. Still, these companies are producing gains.

Consider BigCommerce (BIGC), which provides a cloud e-commerce platform that is used by such customers as SkullCandy, Savannah Bee Co, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. BigCommerce  went public in August with a $24 offering price—and the stock soared 201% that day, closing at $72.27. Since the IPO, the shares have fallen nearly 25%, amid a broader technology selloff.

The company, however, has reported some positive developments, like a deal in February that would give BigCommerce customers the ability to sell directly on Walmart Marketplace. It also reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results. BigCommerce has produced a total return of nearly 127%, according to FactSet. 

Other companies have seen their shares jump since going public.  Dream Finders Homes (DFH), which designs, builds, and sells homes in high-growth markets, was already profitable when it made its trading debut in January at $13 a share. Shares soared 61%, $20.95 on its first day. Prices for houses in March grew at the fastest rate since 2005, which has helped real estate stocks. Dream Finders stock has gained nearly 52% since its IPO, trading Friday at $31.77. Dream Finders notched a total return from offering price of 144.38%. 

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