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Asia Global Crossing makes late-day market debut

Less than two hours before the close of a volatile trading day on the Nasdaq, the company launches its initial public offering and crawls up a scant 38 cents.

    Less than two hours before the close of a volatile trading day on the Nasdaq, Asia Global Crossing launched its initial public offering and crawled up a scant 38 cents.

    The company, a venture between Global Crossing, Microsoft and Softbank to build a trans-Pacific and pan-Asian communications network, rose 5.4 percent Friday afternoon and traded at $7.38.

    In its initial stock sale, Asia Global Crossing raised $476 million through the sale of 68 million shares at $7--about half of what it initially planned. The $7 share price reflected a reduced sale price from the earlier range of $9 to $11.

    Asia Global Crossing originally planned to debut Wednesday at a range of $14 to $16. The two lead underwriters, Goldman Sachs and Salomon Smith Barney, may buy up to 14 million shares.

    Market experts say investor pessimism for Nasdaq companies and the broader markets has sapped enthusiasm for IPOs. The Nasdaq fell 3.2 percent in afternoon trading Friday, hovering around 3,361.04.

    "(Asia) Global Crossing is probably the epitome of what investors are not looking for," said Steven Tuen, a portfolio manager with the Kinetics Internet Fund. "It's a company that's in the telecom business that's looking to spend a lot of money to build out a network."

    The Hamilton, Bermuda-based company is building a fiber-optic network across Asia. The company trades under the ticker symbol "AGCX."