A spate of initial public offerings by technology companies in the third quarter helped Credit Suisse First Boston and J.P. Morgan & Co. reach the top of the latest IPO league table.
Credit Suisse, the No. 1 IPO underwriter, was a lead manager for music Web site MP3.com's $344 million offering in late July and Fairchild Semiconductor International's $370 million August IPO.
Credit Suisse, which moved from No. 3 in the second quarter, underwrote 19 issues worth $2.3 billion.
J.P. Morgan vaulted to second place from 10. The $269 billion-asset banking company led the largest IPO of the quarter, a $1.94 billion issue for biotechnology firm Genentech Inc.
"To maintain our competitive position, we've focused approximately half our IPO business on technology, media, and telecommunications," said Michael Tiedemann, vice president in J.P. Morgan's equity capital markets group. "We've seen it taking a larger share of the market over the last two to three years."
Tech firms issued 107 out of 147 first-time public equity issues.
The second-largest deal of the quarter -- the $564 million offering for cable company Insight Communications -- boosted Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette to third place from fifth. DLJ ranked seventh in the third quarter of 1998. The firm underwrote 11 issues valued at $1.3 billion.
The third-largest deal, Manulife Financial's $544 million offering, was co-underwritten by Credit Suisse and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.
With the exception of J.P. Morgan, commercial banks and their U.S. affiliates gained no more than 7% each of the IPO market.
Salomon Smith Barney came in seventh, up from 12th place. The Citigroup unit underwrote eight issues worth $908 million.
Deutsche Bank followed in eighth place, leading 12 issues worth $890 million. Deutsche ranked ninth in the second quarter and sixth in the third quarter of last year.
Despite its strong tech banking team, BankBoston Corp., now part of Fleet Boston Corp., dropped five places to No. 11 in the latest quarter compared with the third quarter of 1998. The Boston banking company underwrote 10 issues worth $490 million.
Hambrecht & Quist, the San Francisco technology investment bank that agreed in September to be acquired by Chase Manhattan Corp., dropped one notch to 12th place with six issues, worth $461 million.
Overall, new public offerings in the U.S. market dropped 44% from the previous quarter, when large, high-priced issues such as the $3.7 billion Goldman Sachs Group IPO brought volume up to $25 billion.
"The second quarter was a near-record, with some big billion-dollar deals that inflated the quarter's total volume," said Richard Peterson, a market strategist at Thomson Financial Securities Data, which puts together the ranking.
Despite the relatively quiet third quarter, the $39 billion worth of IPOs issued to date this year may push 1999 totals over the $50 billion mark, which was last reached in 1997. "It could be a record year for IPOs," Mr. Peterson said.
The IPO market's recovery since last year, when the Asian economic crisis effectively blocked new issues, was dramatic: Volume jumped 176%, to $14.6 billion, from the third quarter of 1998, when banks underwrote only 68 issues, worth $5.3 billion.
The third quarter included the best seven-day period for new issues of the year, when 25 public offerings came to market during the week that ended July 30. The prior record for issuance was set in the week that ended Nov. 21, 1997.