“Sell in May and go away.” We’ve all heard the expression. And that seems to be what companies were doing last month.
But when we say “sell,” we mean selling shares for the first time in initial public offerings (IPOs). About $5.6 billion were priced last month, according to data from ClickIPO. That made it the busiest May in five years.
A mix of financial, technology and healthcare companies accounted for the noteworthy deals. Two of the busiest were also two of the best performers. Huya (HUYA), for example, is a Guangzhou-based game provider that went public for $12 on May 10 and closed at $25.40 yesterday. It follows Iqiyi (IQ), a Chinese streaming video stock that’s ripped more than 40 percent since its IPO in late March.
Then there’s GreenSky (GSKY), an Atlanta-based fintech company whose mobile app streamlines consumer financing for retailers and service providers. It’s up 16 percent from its $874 million IPO on May 23.
Inspire Medical Systems (INSP) was another big mover, almost doubling from its May 2 offering. Its products are used to treat sleep apnea.
Pluralsight (PS) may have been the most unique company in May. It sells thousands of online classes in emerging skills like Big Data and software development, drawing students with a “freemium” up-sell model. It’s gained more than 40 percent since its IPO on May 16.
The single largest offering was AXA Equitable Holdings (EQH), weighing in at $2.7 billion. Despite just going public on May 9, this life-insurance company has existed in one form or another since the 19th century.
More than $24 billion of offerings have priced so far this year. That running total is already more than two-thirds of the total for all of 2017, according to ClickIPO. And, we’re just five months into the current year.
IPO trading is sophisticated and carries a large degree of risk. It is not suitable for all investors.