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2015 IPO market hurt by volatility but 2016 looks promising: NYSE

Susannah Lee

2015 was a less than stellar year for tech IPOs. In fact, it was the weakest showing in six years.

But the availability of private funding wasn’t the only factor that kept tech companies from going public. “In general, there was a larger trend this year with higher volatility, a little bit of uncertainty around what the Fed was doing, and certainly [more uncertainty] around China,” said Garvis Toler, head of global capital markets at the New York Stock Exchange (ICE).

Despite the rough year for tech IPOs, many of the biggest companies, including Fitbit (FIT) and Square (SQ) debuted on the NYSE. Several international companies, such as Ferrari (RACE), also listed their initial public offerings on the New York Stock Exchange.

“If you overlaid a chart of volatility (^VIX) with IPO issuance—and this holds true whether we're talking about international companies or U.S. companies—it really does hurt the IPO market to have such volatility,” said Toler.

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Coming off of the lowest fourth quarter for IPOs in nearly ten years, Toler thinks the year ahead looks more promising. “Lots of companies have filed but not priced, and a lot of the folks I talked to do believe that 2016 should be a bit better,” he said.

“It’s still very attractive to a lot of companies outside of the U.S., and I'm talking to quite a few these days that do appreciate the value and the depth of the U.S. institutional investment public,” said Toler.

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