It took China six months to get back on the stateside-listed IPO bandwagon, but the wheels keep coming off.
Last week's market debut from China Mass Media (NYSE: CMM ) went over about as well as the previous week's IPO from e-learning enabler China Distance Education Holdings (NYSE: DL ) . In other words, not well.
The television advertising specialist priced its American Depository Shares (ADS) at $6.80 apiece. A week of lackluster trading later, China Mass Media begins this week fetching 15% less than its first wave of buyers paid last week.
The news is only relatively better for those who paid to get in on the China Distance debut. Those shares are trading only 9% below the $7 IPO price.
What's going on here? China Mass Media seemed like a natural. It delivers advertising services to China Central Television, China's largest network and the biggest beneficiary of the Olympic Games taking place in Beijing right now. If China Mass Media can't get any kind of love as a "story stock" now, it's certainly not going to be any easier later.
The problem with the disappointing performance of both China Mass Media and China Distance Education Holdings is that these are the only two Chinese companies to have gone public since certification testing provider ATA (Nasdaq: ATAI ) did so back in January.
The market's lukewarm reception -- OK, let's call it an ice-cold reception -- of the two new debutantes will keep other Chinese companies wary of going public in the United States for now.
Then again, it's not as if Americans are clamoring for homegrown new issues, either. Web-hosting giant Rackspace (NYSE: RAX ) is also trading well below last week's IPO pricing. It's pretty hard for underwriters to unload IPOs if investors see a trend of fading debutantes.
Remember when new IPOs would pop at the open? They're popping again, but it's not the kind of popping sound that investors like to hear.
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