Dealogic said a VIX above 20 is historically consistent with a tame IPO market. In the June 2012 to September 2014 time period, the VIX averaged below 20, a time during which an average 28 IPOs a month were completed. In the April 2010 to May 2012 period, when the VIX averaged 23.2, just 14 deals a month got done.
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Pricing also has been weak, with eight of the 21 October IPOs below range and only three priced above range. Alibaba, by contrast, had the biggest single-day gain ever for an IPO priced above $10 billion.
That heady time for Alibaba came amid strong investor confidence. Bullishness on the Investors Intelligence survey of industry professionals stood at 57.6 percent a week before and has been on a decline since.
"We've had a combination of headlines, whether it's Europe, whether it's China, whether it's Ebola, whether it's a certain economic number, whether it's uncertainty with the Fed," Todd Salamone, senior vice president of research at Schaeffer's Investment Research. said in explaining the market's troubles over the last month. "The sentiment picture has really gyrated."
That's not unusual for a market that kept going up despite some scary headlines, only to fall on seemingly good news like Alibaba's successful debut.
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"I think it's correlation, I don't think it's causation," Colas, who had warned prior to the Alibaba IPO that it could be signaling a market top, said of the IPO's link with the market top. "It's logical to believe that strong confidence in equities is more consistent with a market top than a midpoint or certainly a bottom."