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Trio of IPOs gain ground

Three technology companies post solid gains in their trading debuts, showcasing an IPO market that may be easing into a middle ground.

    Three technology companies today posted solid gains in their first day of trading, showcasing an IPO market that may be easing into a middle ground between the stellar performance and the flop.

    "It's been either hit or miss a lot of times," said Steven Tuen, who co-manages the Kinetics Internet Fund. "It may be the semblance of a more subdued investor, a more realistic investor."

    The three companies joined a crowded calendar of 38 offerings initially planned for the week.

    Opnet Technologies, which sells network optimization software, rose as much as 107 percent to $27 before falling to $18.50 by the market's close.

    Last night, the company raised $52 million through the sale of 4 million shares at $13 each.

    Opnet's software helps companies that need to constantly adjust for increased traffic and other changes to maintain their networks. The company reported revenues of $19.2 million, and it posted $561,000 in profit for the year ended March 31. The company has been profitable since 1996.

    Opnet trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "OPNT." Morgan Stanley Dean Witter handled the sale.

    Floware Wireless, an Israeli-based broadband company, rose as much as 65 percent to $21.50 before falling to $18.13 by the market's close.

    Yesterday the company raised $58.5 million through the sale of 4.5 million shares at $13 each.

    Floware has not been profitable for the past three years, according to Hoovers. In 1999, the company lost $9.4 million, nearly three times its $3.3 million in revenue. Key competitors include wireless giants Alcatel, Ericsson and Siemens.

    Floware trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "FLRE." Credit Suisse First Boston handled the sale.

    Genaissance Pharmaceuticals, which studies the human genome to develop drugs, rose more than 46 percent to $19.94 in first-day trading before edging back to $16.06 by the market's close.

    Yesterday the company raised $78 million through the sale of 6 million shares at $13 each.

    Genaissance trades on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "GNSC." Deutsche Banc Alex Brown handled the sale.

    In the first quarter of 2000, Genaissance lost $8.6 million on revenue of $63,000. In its prospectus, the company explains its losses are because of the development of technology, and it will be several years before it generates significant revenues.

    "It's another really high-risk investment," Tuen said. "All of (the biotechnology companies) are high risk, but at this point it seems that investors are willing to tolerate it, I think in part because they moved away from the dot-com companies."