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IPO market gets a mini-boost

Fiber-optics company New Focus gives the IPO market a shot in the arm when it becomes the first company in more than a month to double on its first day of trading.

Fiber-optics company New Focus gave the IPO market a shot in the arm today when it became the first company in more than a month to double on its first day of trading.

New Focus, which priced its shares at $20, soared 155 percent to close at $51. IPO analysts had earlier speculated the offering would be popular, given the company's role in the hot fiber-optics market and the fact that it raised its pricing range to $16 to $18 a share from $14 to $16.

New Focus, which sells fiber-optics-related products, was one of four companies to debut today. The others posted mixed results.

iBeam Broadcasting, a satellite-based streaming media technology provider, closed the day with a strong double-digit first-day gain of 40 percent. The company, which closed at $14, yesterday priced its shares at $10, the middle of its pricing range.

iBeam uses satellites to distribute streaming audio and video as well as static Internet content to Internet service provider customers. The company competes with Cidera, another satellite content distributor that plans a similar IPO later this year, and other content distribution firms such as Akamai Technologies, Digital Island, Mirror Image Internet, Adero and Edgix.

Satellites are capable of broadcasting the same content to multiple locations simultaneously, making the technology optimal for streaming media such as audio and video Webcasts.

Meanwhile, cellular services company US Unwired and digital video compression chipmaker Nogatech posted less-than-stellar results.

US Unwired failed to gain much momentum, closing at $11.06, up 6 cents from its offering price. Nogatech ended the day down 22 percent from its offer price of $12, closing at $9.41.

Nogatech sold its shares yesterday through an auction format, which allows individual investors to bid on shares before the stock hits the markets.

Analysts earlier questioned the successful use of such a process when the markets are weak.