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Nuance surges in market debut

Nuance Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN) bounded ahead 88 percent in its debut Thursday; though that's not extraordinary by IPO standards, its impressive considering market conditions have scared off many technology offerings this week.

Shares were up 5 1/16 to 32 1/16 Thursday, as the Nasdaq revived from the week's earlier losses. The company, which makes voice integration software, had priced 4.5 million shares at $17 each, above range, through lead underwriter Goldman Sachs.

"This is a breakthrough area for which strong demand is expected," Irv DeGraw, research director at, said in a note. "The company is well-positioned as an early market leader."

The company has about 27.4 million shares outstanding after the IPO, giving it a market capitalisation of about $237.7 million. In 1999, Nuance posted total revenue of over $19.5 million for a net loss of $18.4 million.

  • The only other tech company brave enough to launch an IPO after Wednesday's tech carnage was (Nasdaq: SINA), a Chinese portal site.

    Shares were up 3 to 20, or 18 percent after the company priced 4 million shares at $17 each.

    The company recorded a net loss of $9.4 million on sales of $2.2 million in 1999.

    Morgan Stanley and China International Capital Corporation Limited are acting as the joint lead underwriters. Chase Securities Inc. and Robertson Stephens are acting as co-managers.

  • In other IPO news, email marketing services firm, FloNetwork (Nasdaq: FNWK) announced it had postponed its IPO due to market conditions. The 3.75 million share IPO was expected to price between $10-12 for trading Thursday. Biotech offerings Adolor (Nasdaq: ALDR) and Rigel Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: RIGL) also postponed their debuts.

    As it turned out, market conditions weren't so bad for IPOs. Yesterday's debuts, Corillian (Nasdaq: CORI) rose 4 1/16 to 12 9/16 , and Asian portal (Nasdaq: IASIAN) gained 2 5/16 to 13 5/16 after unimpressive performance Wednesday.