Where was the pop?
Investors in Uber—German for over—should be rejoicing on the company’s opening day on the NYSE. Instead, the stock opened at the planned $45 and has remained under that price as of midday.
Typically, an IPO is first sold through investment bank underwriters to big institutional investors and to favored individual clients, all of whom paid $45 a share. The expectation is that there will be a bounce when individual investors look to pick up some shares, allowing initial holders to see some profit.
Worries about the Lyft IPO and its quickly descending stock price pushed Uber to price its initial offering at the low end of its announced scale.
That didn’t help. Shares took a nearly 9% drop at opening to a low of $41.06 and eventually came back to just under $45 by 1:45 p.m.
The reason may be a split between Main Street and Wall Street. “I think people are in general becoming more cautious about the market,” said Stoyan Panayotov, CEO of Babylon Wealth Management. “Most of the retail investors have a taste from the financial crisis ten years ago and that’s still reflected in the market today. I think investors want some kind of path to profitability, something like a clear way for those companies to make money.”
Uber doesn’t offer that, with billions in losses over its time so far and no clear explanation of how that might happen, other than potentially moving to autonomous vehicles and cutting human drivers out of the loop.
Or the concerns might be broader and more tied to the economic environment. “We believe Uber is off to a choppy trade on the heels of the Lyft train wreck out of the gates and general investor nervousness on the US and China [trade war], [and investors’ worries about risk],” said Daniel Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush Securities. “Institutional investors we speak with are hesitant to buy this out of the box given what happened with Lyft and want to see it settle before accumulating significant positions, especially with the market worried about broader issues and valuations suffering with [investor risk worries] in tech across the board this week.”
In other words, investors should buckle up.
More must-read Uber stories from Fortune:
—Uber’s low-priced IPO is a sign of challenges to come
—An early Uber investor on what’s next for the company post-IPO
—Here’s what analysts are saying about Uber’s IPO
—Pay less attention to Uber’s IPO. And everyone else’s.