Dull sentiment mars iMerchants debut

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 April, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 April, 2000, 12:00am

E-commerce enabler iMerchants made a less than auspicious debut on the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) yesterday, closing only 1 per cent above its issue price.

The company, which provides e-commerce software and services, opened at a high of HK$1.90, or 28 per cent above the company's issue price of HK$1.48.

However, within minutes, the counter fell to the day's low of HK$1.44.

It recovered to trade at about HK$1.48 for most of the day before closing at HK$1.49.

Analysts attributed the stock's unimpressive performance to weaker investor sentiment towards technology stocks.

'Investors are getting vigilant when it comes to new shares [on the GEM board],' said Kenny Tang Sing-hing, research associate director at Tung Tai Securities.

'The recent losses [by Nasdaq in the United States] had a negative effect on market sentiment. [Investors] are also getting wiser and will evaluate a company's revenue prospects before buying its stock.' Ricky Tam Siu-hing, senior research manager of Delta Asia Financial Group, said: 'Investors have become more prudent after having invested so much money in technology stocks.' Leroy Kung Ling-yuen, chairman of iMerchants, said short or medium-term fluctuations in the company's share price would not affect it.

'We are an e-commerce executive partner which is involved in establishing e-commerce infrastructure,' Mr Kung said.

He said iMerchants had HK$80 million to use for strategic investments.