Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
One mark of the resiliency of the bull market over the past five years has been the ability for stocks to rebound after brief pullbacks. After a third-straight drop for the Dow Thursday, investors will likely put that resiliency to the test again as they anxiously wait for next week's meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee to get their next read on monetary policy. Yet, even nervousness about the prospects for the market in 2014 weren't enough to prevent IPOs Aramark Holdings (NYSE: ARMK ) and Hilton Worldwide Holdings (NYSE: HLT ) from making strong first-day gains, while Exelis (NYSE: XLS ) also managed to posted a solid advance.
Aramark jumped 13% in its first day of trading, climbing from its $20 per share IPO price, representing the low end of its anticipated $20 to $23 range. The hospitality and food-services giant got off to a slow start, opening the session with just a 1% gain, but excitement over the company accelerated over the course of the day. With customers including sports and health-care facilities, colleges and universities, and businesses whose employees regularly use its uniforms, Aramark has diverse exposure to areas that could expand both in the U.S., and around the world.
Hilton climbed 8% after also pricing its IPO at $20 per share last night, above the midpoint of its $18 to $21 range. The gains helped make Hilton's IPO the second most profitable in history according to Bloomberg, with only Apollo Global Management's gains from chemical company LyondellBasell making more money for a private equity firm. Even though Hilton fetched a fairly high valuation from shareholders, it has some advantages over other hotel chains that could justify its premium price in the long run.
Exelis also gained 8% after the defense company said it would spin off its military and government-services businesses by the middle of next year, hoping to unlock value and allow its remaining commercial business to pursue higher-margin projects. At the same time, Exelis also announced that Boeing (NYSE: BA ) picked the company to provide composite airframe substructures for its Dreamliner aircraft, offering a perfect example of the high-margin opportunities that Exelis would like to see more of after its spinoff.
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