Caldera Takes Off with a Bang

Despite the poor performance of late of some of its Linux brethren, Caldera Systems made a strong debut on Wall Street today. After already repricing its initial public offering (IPO) at $10 to $12 on Monday (up from $7 to $9), Caldera pushed the price up to $14. Shares started trading at $26, falling slightly to $24.875 at midday.

Doubts had arisen in recent weeks about Linux stocks, with highflyers like Red Hat and VA Linux down heavily. Red Hat opened at $58.75 today, after climbing as high as 151.31 earlier this year.

While that has apparently not dulled investors' IPO enthusiasm, Irv DeGraw, an IPO analyst at WorldFinanceNet.com, said he expects this to be "the last hurrah" for Linux IPOs.

"The days of 200% returns on Linux (IPOs) are gone," said DeGraw. He said Caldera shares are likely to retreat somewhat after today, and he expects the upcoming IPO of LinuxCare to see a more muted reception.

"I think we've seen the cream of the crop" of Linux IPOs, said Jeff Hirschkorn, an analyst at IPO.com. But Hirschkorn said he believes the good performance of Caldera will spike interest in LinuxCare. "A lot of people were waiting to see how Caldera did."

Compared to other Linux offerings, Caldera is "priced very fairly," said Hirschkorn. He expects the stock to rise steadily over the next few weeks to about $45.

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