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These 2 Explosive IPOs Sent Stock Markets Higher Wednesday

By Dan Caplinger – Sep 30, 2020 at 6:14PM

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New companies coming public show the strength of the market.

The stock market climbed on Wednesday, reacting favorably to positive economic data on the jobs front. Although major market benchmarks had been higher earlier in the day, they nevertheless finished with solid gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -0.07%), S&P 500 (^GSPC 0.04%) and Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.23%) all more than regained their lost ground from Tuesday's down session.

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Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

The IPO market has been extremely busy, and Wednesday brought not one but two big initial public offerings. Both Palantir Technologies (PLTR -0.14%) and Asana (ASAN 2.00%) went the direct-listing route to come public, and they both had roaring success on their first days of trading. That has some investors feeling more confident than ever, while others wonder if it could be a sign of a market top.

Mosaic tiles spelling IPO in white against a yellow mosaic tile background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Investors have an eye on Palantir

Shares of Palantir Technologies closed at $9.50 per share. That was 31% higher than its initial reference price of $7.25 per share, although it was slightly below the $10 opening price at which the stock started trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Palantir's debut has been widely anticipated. The company's data analytics focus is certainly in high demand, but many investors also like the fact that Palantir gets a lot of its business from government intelligence operations. Some find Palantir and billionaire co-founder Peter Thiel to be controversial figures because of their close associations to the current administration in Washington.

Like many newly public companies, Palantir isn't profitable, but it has enjoyed a lot of revenue growth. That didn't stop investors from snapping up shares.

Shareholders will want to see whether Palantir can keep growing regardless of what happens in the federal government. With the general public holding stock that has only weak voting rights, control of Palantir will remain squarely in the hands of its co-founders for a long time to come.

Working well with Asana

Asana had even better luck, finishing the day up 37% from its initial reference price of $21 per share. That was only slightly below where the stock started trading shortly after noon EDT.

Asana follows a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model with its workplace collaboration and planning platform. That's put it in the right category at the right time, as tech investors can't seem to get enough SaaS stocks in their portfolios.

Asana's goal is to help workers spend more time actually doing work and less time trying to figure out exactly what they need to do. CEO Dustin Moskovitz had that problem when he was at Facebook (META 0.98%), and he's found tens of thousands of businesses with the same desire to benefit from the solution his company has developed.

Employers are always looking for ways to make their workers more efficient. If Asana can keep attracting the same mix of top employers to its platform, then it stands a good chance of seeing even higher levels for its stock price in the long run.

Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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