Facebook's blockbuster initial public offering could be coming at just the right time for markets — when investors are preparing for the seemingly annual ritual to sell in May and go away.
Stocks have been volatile but ultimately have gone nowhere in the past month, following a strong rally off the October lows.
With investor complacency setting in and the time seemingly perfect to book gains and get ready for vacation, the Facebook IPO is considered a primary hope to keep the market from slipping into summer slumber.
"Clearly, it's going to be the biggest IPO in a while, and one of the knocks on this market has been the lack of IPOs," says Ryan Detrick, senior analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati. "It all comes down to a lack of trust and lack of confidence in the market, even though we've had a pretty good rally."
Since the Dow industrials broke through the 13,000 barrier in early March, the market has posted a modest loss as investors have looked for a new catalyst to spur buying.
At the same time, the climate for new offerings has been tepid.
There have been 60 IPOs offered in the US, totaling just shy of $10 billion so far in 2012. That's 12 fewer total deals and a staggering 67 percent drop in total value from the $30.4 billion posted for the same period in 2011, according to Dealogic. Globally, the decline has been comparable.Page 1 of 4 | Next Page