IPO Market Comes to a Standstill

“There were no U.S. IPOs in January, the first such month since the eurozone crisis in September 2011, according to data provider Dealogic. Investors and analysts attribute the dearth to the global stock-market rout of the first two weeks of the year, which signaled a broad retreat from risk by investors.

If sustained, the reversal threatens to send ripples through global financial markets. Many analysts and traders view a healthy IPO sector as a necessary precondition for a sustainable advance in the broad stock indexes, as dozens of private companies have built their plans around raising cash in the public markets.

At least three IPOs were withdrawn or postponed in January due to market conditions, according to Dealogic, including that of online lender Elevate Credit Inc.

This week, the IPO market will face another test, as at least two biotech companies are expected to attempt offerings raising roughly $225 million in total, according to regulatory filings and people familiar with the deals.

Among the companies planning stock-market debuts the first week of February are BeiGene Ltd. and Editas Medicine Inc., according to people familiar with the deals.

The declines have “quickly shut the window for the vast majority of companies that want to go public,” said John Schroer, portfolio manager of the health-sciences fund run by Allianz Global Investors, which oversees $477 billion.