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Ixia exciting in IPO

Shares of the company, which makes systems to evaluate the speed and effectiveness of the transmission of data, more than double in the first hours of the company's debut on Wall Street.

Shares of Ixia, which makes systems to evaluate the speed and effectiveness of the transmission of data, more than doubled in the first hours of the company's debut on Wall Street.

IPO forecast
Calabasas, Calif.-based Ixia's stock rose Thursday morning by as much as 101 percent, to $26.13, before falling back to close at $23.19. The stock's strong debut coincided with a surge in the Nasdaq, which rose 196.22 to 3,367.78 on strong earnings from Microsoft and Sun Microsystems.

On Wednesday, Ixia sold 5.5 million shares at $13 each, $1 above the expected price range of $10 to $12.

Ixia's products evaluate the quantity and speed of transmission of data packets over networks, including optical and Ethernet networks. The system determines how many packets are lost during transmission and whether the packets are received intact.

Ixia has sold its systems to companies such as Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, AT&T, UUNet, Lockheed Martin and Bank of America. While many investors seemed bullish on the company's prospects, more cautious mutual fund managers remained uninterested.

"It's a very niche company, and we've been looking for cleaner plays that are further up the food chain," said Dave Nadig, a portfolio manager with MetaMarkets.com. "These kinds of tiny plays have been the first ones up against the wall on bad days."

In the six months ended June 30, Ixia earned $2.28 million on $28.3 revenue. The company has been profitable since 1998.

Shares of Ixia trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "XXIA." Merrill Lynch handled the sale.