After an uninspiring start to its life as a public company, Robinhood Markets (HOOD -1.39%) snapped to life on Tuesday. Shares of the fast-growing trading platform soared 24% for the day.
Robinhood went public at $38 last Thursday, and it closed as a broken IPO through its first three days of trading. Robinhood closing above its debutante price for the first time on Tuesday is noteworthy, largely because 301,573 of its users got in on the IPO.
Itchy trigger fingers
Robinhood made sure its users got a crack at its Wall Street offering. It held back between 20% and 35% of the freshly minted shares for its users to claim. Robinhood's mission is to "democratize finance for all," so of course it was going to make its own IPO accessible to the masses.
We know how many of its users got in on the offering, but we still don't know if it was oversubscribed or if Robinhood wound up shelling out less than 35% of the IPO shares to its customer accounts. We do know that 301,573 is just 1.3% of Robinhood's 22.5 million funded accounts, and initially this was a relief. When the stock's debut was priced at $38 -- the low end of its range -- only to close below that price point on Thursday (and then Friday and the following Monday) it was easy to wonder if Robinhood had made a colossal mistake.
If Robinhood's stock were to tank -- taking more than 300,000 of its users down with it -- would the platform's reputation recover? Tuesday's rally may not stick, but for a single trading day at least Robinhood was a winner on all fronts.
The real test comes now. Robinhood is advising the new IPO stock recipients on its platform to hold their allocations for at least 30 days. If they flip Robinhood stock within the month they may be prevented from participating in future IPOs for other stocks on the site for the next 60 days. Outside of a brief intraday pop above $38 on Thursday the stock is above its debut price for the first time. Will Robinhood's often fickle traders jump at the chance for a quick profit?
We do know that Robinhood users got between $378 million and $662 million in stock, 20% to 35% of the $1.89 billion offering. The average transaction size was between $1,253 and $2,195 -- or a lot less than a round lot of 100 shares.
Some may argue that the 1% of Robinhood users who participated in the IPO doesn't matter. The nearly 99% of funded accounts that didn't take the next-gen broker up on its offer to get in on the IPO had three trading days to get in at even lower price points. It doesn't matter if Tuesday's rally was as simple as ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood buying into Robinhood in three of the past four trading days or if it's just a new flavor of meme stock.
Robinhood has gone from a dud of an IPO stock to a momentum play. Will the real Robinhood step up? It's time to see if Robinhood users will be flipping the shares into the stock's first real rally or if this was just a misunderstood debutante that's better than its initial lukewarm response.