Stock Watch: Wit Capital IPO Soars

A perusal of message boards on the Internet makes it clear that many investors expected Friday’s initial public offering of online investment bank Wit Capital (Nasdaq: WITC) to perform better than it did . However, given the softening Internet IPO market, shares of Wit Capital had a solid showing on Friday, rising more than 65 percent. Wit Capital stock gained 5-7/8 to close at 14-7/8.

Wit Capital has distinguished itself by offering customers access to a limited number of shares of high-quality IPOs like Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), iVillage (Nasdaq: IVIL), eToys (Nasdaq: ETYS) and Starmedia (Nasdaq: STRM). Wit Capital also offered its customers limited access to its own IPO.

Wit Capital may need to find other ways to distinguish itself because the online brokerage game is getting more crowded. Last week, Merrill Lynch and Paine Webber both announced their plans to offer online trading.

Wit Capital has a powerful ally in Goldman Sachs, which owns 22 percent of the online investment bank. It will be interesting to see if Goldman Sachs will be able to help Wit Capital offer even more IPO shares to its customers.

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