Just like opening day at the ballpark, investing in new IPOs holds the potential for shining promise and crushing disappointment. If you simply can't bear to just cheer on your favorites from the sidelines, at least be careful about investing in this league. Many new issues swing for the fences during their first trading days, only to slump once marketing hype has given way to mundane earnings reports.

Don't commit an error by stocking your entire portfolio with rookies. Allocate just a small percentage of your risk capital to IPOs. Scout your potential phenoms carefully, and be choosy about composing your own rotisserie league. Investing with an eye for a season extending long beyond opening day will reward you with quality players capable of staying in the game. With that in mind, we offer our Foolish scouting report of the latest IPOs.

Last week's games

Winner: BigBand Networks

  • Ticker: Nasdaq: BBND
  • Industry: Tech
  • Deal terms: 10.7 million shares, $13 per share
  • Lead managers: Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch
  • Filed: Dec. 22
  • Opening day: March 15, opened at $15.25, closed at $17, 30.8% gain
  • Bleacher banter: Priced above its proposed range of $10 to $12 per share; a promising sign for tech offerings from profitable companies

FCStone Group

  • Ticker: Nasdaq: FCSX
  • Industry: Commodity risk management services
  • Deal terms: 4.6 million shares, $24 per share
  • Lead managers: BMO Capital Markets and Banc of America
  • Filed: Oct. 1
  • Opening day: March 16, opened at $27.50, closed at $31.13, 29.7% gain
  • Bleacher banter: Priced at high end of its proposed range; increased size of offering by 500,000 shares

Tongjitang Chinese Medicines

  • Proposed ticker: NYSE: TCM
  • Industry: Chinese pharmaceutical
  • Proposed deal terms: 9.9 million American depositary shares, $10 per share
  • Lead managers: Merrill Lynch and UBS
  • Filed: Feb. 26
  • Opening day: Feb. 16, opened at $10, closed at $9.75, 2.5% loss
  • Bleacher banter: Reduced its proposed offering range from $15 to $17 to $12 to $14 per share; still priced below range

On deck

CastlePoint Holdings

  • Proposed ticker: Nasdaq: CPHL
  • Industry: Insurance
  • Proposed deal terms: 6.1 million shares, $13 to $15 per share
  • Lead manager: Friedman Billings
  • Filed: Jan. 11

Cheniere Energy Partners

  • Proposed ticker: NYSE: CQP
  • Industry: Liquefied natural gas terminal operator
  • Proposed deal terms: 12.5 million shares, $19 to $21 per share
  • Lead managers: Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and Credit Suisse
  • Filed: Dec. 21

Glu Mobile

  • Proposed ticker: Nasdaq: GLUU
  • Industry: Mobile phone game provider
  • Proposed deal terms: 7.3 million shares, $10 to $12 per share
  • Lead manager: Goldman Sachs
  • Filed: Dec. 19

Haynes International

  • Proposed ticker: Nasdaq: HAYN
  • Industry: Alloy manufacturer
  • Proposed deal terms: 2.1 million shares, $61 to $64 per share
  • Lead manager: JPMorgan
  • Filed: Jan. 25

Game of the week
The week ahead appears to be one without a clear winner. If you must see some action, you may want to consider energizing your portfolio with shares of Cheniere Energy Partners, a Delaware limited partnership formed by parent Cheniere Energy (AMEX:LNG) in 2006.

Through Sabine Pass LNG, its wholly owned subsidiary, Cheniere Energy Partners will develop, own, and operate a liquefied natural gas terminal under construction in Louisiana on the Sabine Pass Channel. The terminal will be the largest such facility in North America upon its completion, with approximately 4.0 billion cubic feet per day. Three 20-year terminal use agreements making use of this total capacity have already been signed, and obligate customers to pay full fees regardless of usage. The terminal is expected to become commercially operable in the third quarter of 2008.

As with many energy partnerships, you need to become familiar with investment basics in this sector and take time to understand the flow of capital through the corporate structure before deciding whether to invest. If you're not up to speed on these factors, it would be better to sit this one out.

Shares are expected to begin trading tomorrow. As always, make sure you do your own warm-ups and read through a company's offering documents, including the risk factors, before getting in on the game!

Warming up in the bullpen
eTelecare Global Solutions
, a Philippines-based business outsource provider, announced deal terms of 5.5 million American depositary shares at $12.50-$14.50 per share. The lead managers are Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank.

Flagstone Reinsurance, a Bermuda-based reinsurer, announced deal terms of 13 million American depositary shares at $12.50-$14.50 per share. The lead managers are Lehman and Citigroup.

GSI Technology, a circuit manufacturer, announced deal terms of 8 million shares at $6.50-$8 per share. The lead managers are Needham and W.R. Hambrecht.

Sent down to the minors
Photowatt
Technologies, a solar cell manufacturer, postponed its planned offering scheduled for last week.

Minor-league developments
Get ready, get set ... not yet! The latest filings announced during the last week include:

AuthenTec

  • Proposed ticker: Nasdaq: AUTH
  • Industry: Semiconductor manufacturer
  • Proposed deal terms: Not yet determined
  • Lead manager: Lehman
  • Filed: March 16

Polypore International

  • Proposed ticker: NYSE: PPO
  • Industry: Filtration manufacturer
  • Proposed deal terms: Not yet determined
  • Lead manager: JPMorgan
  • Filed: March 14 (refiling)

Disabled list
Liberman Broadcasting
, a Spanish-language media company, withdrew its planned offering, without citing a reason.

Champions
Meet our current champs. Among companies that went public during the past 12 months, these firms' percentage returns from their offer prices to their most recent closing prices rank them as the top five players:

Company

Return

Description

IPO Date

Omrix Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:OMRI)

295.8%

Biotech

4/21/06

New Oriental Education (NYSE:EDU)

172.1%

Chinese educational services provider

4/20/06

Riverbed Technology (NASDAQ:RVBD)

171.3%

Tech

9/20/06

MasterCard (NYSE:MA)

169.9%

Credit card services provider

5/24/06

Omniture (NASDAQ:OMTR)

167.5%

Software provider

6/27/06


Benchwarmers
Now meet our current benchwarmers -- that's nicer to say than "losers," isn't it? Among companies that went public during the past 12 months, these firms' percentage returns from their offer prices to their most recent closing prices rank them as the bottom five players:

Company

Return

Description

IPO Date

Vonage Holdings (NYSE:VG)

(76.5%)

Telecom

5/24/06

Aventine Renewable Energy (NYSE:AVR)

(65.3%)

Ethanol producer

6/28/06

Restore Medical (NASDAQ:REST)

(58.4%)

Medical device maker

5/16/06

Visicu (NASDAQ:EICU)

(55.5%)

Health-care services provider

4/4/06

Alphatec Holdings (NASDAQ:ATEC)

(53.6%)

Medical device maker

6/1/06


Groupies and fan clubs
If you don't want to declare your loyalties for specific players, but still want to enjoy the action, consider subscribing to an IPO-focused mutual fund or exchange-traded fund. Of course, do your scouting homework here, too, and make sure you read their prospectuses before buying season tickets.

Last week, both the general market and IPO players declined. The IPO Plus Aftermarket (FUND:IPOSX), a mutual fund, fell 1.4%, and the First Trust IPOX 100 (AMEX:FPX), an ETF, decreased 0.9%, while the Nasdaq slipped 0.6% and the Russell lost 0.8%.

Keep reading the Fool to see how your favorite players perform as they mature!

We're publicly offering further Foolishness:

Sources: Renaissance Capital's IPOhome.com, SEC filings, Reuters.

Omrix Biopharmaceuticals is a Rule Breakers recommendation. New Oriental Education is a Global Gains selection. MasterCard is an Inside Value pick. Omniture has been recommended as a Stock Advisor selection. Bank of America and JPMorgan are Income Investor picks. Whatever your investing style, the Fool has a newsletter for you, and a free 30-day trial to match.

Fool contributor S.J. Caplan roots for the Cleveland Indians when her husband is watching, and for the Boston Red Sox when he leaves the room. She holds no financial position in any firms or funds mentioned here. The Fool has a disclosure policy.