Mortgage.com got a chilly reception when it went public last week as investors grew more finicky about Internet stocks.
The Plantation, Fla., company had hoped to raise $112 million, but its initial public offering realized only $56.5 million. Its chief underwriter, Credit Suisse First Boston, set out to sell 7.5 million shares at $10 to $12 per share, but trading opened at $8, and only 7 million shares were traded. The shares were trading at $8.375 at midday Friday, up $1 from Thursday's close.
They should have done better, but the fact remains that they have been progressively losing more and more money, said Jeff Lebowitz, a principle at SSP-RES Research.
That makes it much less certain that they can recapture investments that they're making in technology, he said, adding that a recent slide in other technology stocks may have made investors wary of these kinds of companies.
Mortgage.com had an accumulated deficit of about $21.3 million as of March 31, after net losses of $6.1 million last year and about $3.2 million in the first quarter. In its SEC filing, the company also said that it had had higher net losses in each fiscal year since 1996.
The company said that Securities and Exchange Commission rules prevent it from commenting on the offering.
Mr. Lebowitz said the dramatic decline in refinancings as interest rates rose this year probably hurt the offering. Nearly half the company's loans have been refinancings.
Refis are drying up, and it's not clear that these electronic networks will serve the purchase-money market as well, Mr. Lebowitz said.
Mortgage.com's low price was also a surprise in the wake of a stellar IPO last month by a competitor. E-Loan Inc. of Dublin, Calif., went public at $14 a share in a sale of 3.5 million shares.
It is a different psychology, Mr. Lebowitz said.
Mr. Lebowitz said, however, that this bump in the road would not hold the company back for long.
Mortgage.com has a potentially diverse stream of income, he said. They are not totally dependent on the flow from electronic inquiries.
Apart from its on-line wholesale lending business, the company sells Internet-based mortgage origination software to banks, brokers, and real estate people.
It also maintains private-label products and Web sites for banks.