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A Washington budget deal might ordinarily have inspired greater bullishness among investors, but with details left to work out and concerns about how even small signs of political cooperation could affect the Federal Reserve's thinking about monetary policy helped send stocks sharply lower today. The Dow dropped triple digits, while the S&P 500 fell more than 1% and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC ) just barely held onto the 4,000 level in a 1.4% drop. But for Autohome (NYSE: ATHM ) , Demand Media (NYSE: DMD ) , and Valero Energy Partners (NYSE: VLP ) , it was a good day, with all three stocks posting big gains.
Chinese online-automotive seller and information-provider Autohome soared 77% from its IPO price of $17, which had already been increased from the levels at which most had expected the offering to price. China has huge growth potential in the auto industry, with its rising consumer class looking for tangible signs of their increasing financial prosperity. Australia's Telstra will remain the majority owner of the company even after the completion of the IPO, and if the Chinese car market takes off, Telstra could prefer to hold onto its shares rather than making follow-on offerings down the road.
Elsewhere in the IPO market, Valero Energy Partners surged to a 22% gain on its first day of trading, climbing from its $23 offering price. Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO ) decided to create the master limited partnership and offer 15 million units to investors, but it will still retain full general-partner control and almost three-quarters of the limited-partnership units in the MLP. With strong ties to its parent, Valero Energy Partners will initially rely on the success of Valero in order to be profitable and pay the much-anticipated distributions that investors will want to see.
Demand Media didn't come public today, but the Internet content provider did manage to earn an upgrade from analysts at JMP Securities. The stock has struggled from changes in the algorithms that search engines use to produce results, and the departure of former CEO Richard Rosenblatt hasn't helped the stock either. But with online content still having substantial value, JMP clearly believes that Demand Media can outperform the overall market from its depressed levels.
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