Event: Trulia, an on-line real estate site priced its IPO on Thursday at $17 per share. Investors took the bait and bid up shares another $7 to close at $24 per share giving the firm a valuation just shy of $600 million. This was the first high profile IPO in a month and first since the Federal Reserve announced its QE Infinity fiscal stimulus program. Clearly the market was hungry for new paper. Shares are trading higher on Friday, continuing the impressive run higher.
Analysis: Trulia is in the sweet spot. The real estate market is perceived to be on the rebound and for good this time. Homebuilder sentiment is high and low interest rates are here for the foreseeable future. The company has enjoyed an impressive run of revenue growth. For the first six months of 2012 Trulia generated $29 million in sales. That said, Trulia is losing money, some $7.6 million in the first half of the year. By comparison Zillow generated $66 million in revenue in 2011, but is already profitable. Zillow is valued at over $1 billion and trades for 20 times trailing revenue.
Action: IPO stocks have been faring poorly of late with few exceptions. Trulia looks to be one of those exceptions. I’m skeptical, but would not fight the tape here. Let it run on the rebound in the real estate market, but look to own a put option on this one any time it reports earnings. The market is likely to be disappointed when the fantasy fails to deliver.