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USgears up for flurry of share listings

City A.M. Reporter
THEUNITEDStates is gearing up for its biggest week of initial public offerings (IPO) in nearly two years, in a welcome sign that an economic recovery is well under way in the world&rsquo;s biggest economy.<br /><br />There are eight IPOs &ndash; where companies float new shares on the stock markets &ndash; lined up to take place this week. They are expected to raise $3.5bn (&pound;2.15bn), increasing 2009&rsquo;s total so far by 66.1 per cent. <br /><br />The IPOs run the gamut of sectors from real estate investment trusts (REIT), created to buy toxic assets, to a clean tech firm that has never made a profit. That broadening of industries shows how much the IPO market has healed since a six-month virtual drought ended in February, experts say. The recovery in IPO markets started in China and Brazil and has now come to the United States.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s too early to say, &lsquo;Everything&rsquo;s fine. Everyone come back into the pool&rsquo;, but we are seeing signs that more and more types of investors are coming back to the market and there is robust interest in IPOs,&rdquo; said Mary Ann Deignan, head of equity capital markets for the Americas at UBS Investment Bank.<br /><br />The number of deals would make it the busiest since the week of 9 December&nbsp; 2007, when 11 IPOs came to the market. So far this year, there have been only 22 IPOs.<br /><br />Among the IPOs ready to test investor appetite for risk is Foursquare Capital, a REIT that will be run by a unit of money manager AllianceBernstein and plans to raise $500m with which to buy &ldquo;toxic assets&rdquo; under a US Treasury scheme.<br /><br />Two other REITs, Colony Financial and Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, created by Leon Black&rsquo;s private equity firm, are each seeking hundreds of millions of dollars to buy commercial mortgage-backed securities, betting that their values will rebound.<br /><br />But a flop or two next week, or a sudden end to the recent stock market rally, could be enough to send investors running for the doors again, one analyst said.<br /><br />&ldquo;People could be frightened if some of these deals go badly,&rdquo; said Nick Einhorn, a research analyst at investment firm Renaissance Capital.