comscore Etsy, Virtu and Party City all climb in their stock market debuts | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Etsy, Virtu and Party City all climb in their stock market debuts

    Party City CEO Jim Harrison, third from left, and Chairman Gerry Rittenberg, fourth from left, are joined in applause by company executives during opening bell ceremonies at the New York Stock Exchange, to mark the Party City IPO, Thursday, April 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Three prominent companies — Etsy, Virtu Financial and Party City — made promising stock debuts Thursday, potentially providing a jolt to the market for initial public offerings that has been slow this year.

Etsy, the Brooklyn-based online marketplace for artisanal goods, opened for trading at $31 a share on the Nasdaq stock market. That is nearly double its initial offering price of $16 a share, which was already at the high end of its expected range.

Etsy maintained its momentum throughout the day, closing at $30 a share, or 87.5 percent higher than its offer price. That sharp rise propelled the company’s market worth to $3.3 billion.

It’s a heady valuation for a company created in a warehouse loft to sell the handmade wooden creations of its co-founder Rob Kalin. Despite management changes, notably the departure of Kalin as chief executive, the company has grown significantly.

Meanwhile, Virtu Financial, the big high-frequency trading firm, jumped on its debut as well, closing the day at $22.18 a share, or nearly 17 percent above its $19 offering price. That valued the company at $3.2 billion.

This is the second effort at going public in two years for Virtu. It postponed the stock sale last spring because of a furor about high-frequency trading prompted by the publication of Michael Lewis’ book “Flash Boys.”

Its shares now trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol VIRT.

The retailer Party City opened for trading at $20.40 — ushered in with the sounds of Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” blaring across the New York Stock Exchange. It closed the day at $20.70, also above its IPO price of $17 a share. At that level, the company, which trades under the symbol PRTY, now carries a market value of about $2.4 billion.

Party City is going public three years after the private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners bought control of the nearly 70-year-old seller of party goods.

Until now, only 38 companies had gone public in the United States in 2015, nearly 60 percent fewer than at the same time last year, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

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