Shares of Maoye International Holdings, a Shenzhen-based department store operator, fell 1.94 per cent on their debut yesterday as investors remained cautious about new stocks despite an improved market. Maoye, which fixed its shares at HK$3.10 each, opened 1.29 per cent higher at HK$3.14 but closed 6 HK cents down at HK$3.04. The disappointing debut may discourage retail investors from buying new offerings on the market, such as Artini China, E-Land Fashion China and Asia Cement (China). 'Investors are smart and will not buy names they don't know. They have shown little interest in initial public offerings for quite a long time and will buy only when the shares sink [below the offer prices] after the trading debuts,' said Kwan Pak-leung, a director at Celestial Asia. Celestial Asia and Sun Hung Kai Financial, the two most active retail brokerages in the city, received less than HK$10 million worth of margin orders for shares of Artini, E-Land and Asia Cement. That compares with the combined HK$620 million worth of shares set aside for retail investors in the three deals. Fashion jewellery maker Artini and E-Land aim to raise a combined HK$3.8 billion from share sales, while Asia Cement plans to raise HK$2.4 billion. The Hang Seng Index has jumped 27 per cent since a mid-March trough to close at 26,183.95 yesterday, down 0.22 per cent on the day. Maoye sold 863 million shares in a second attempt at a global offering, to raise HK$2.51 billion. It had aimed to raise HK$7.06 billion from a deal in January that was cancelled because of turmoil in the market. Retail investors suffered a paper loss of HK$60 before expenses on each board lot of 1,000 Maoye shares, based on the closing price yesterday. 'Its poor debut performance is not surprising, as sentiment towards the new offering market is not good, which means not every initial public offering can make money,' said an analyst who declined to be named. Patrick Yiu Ho-yin, an associate director at CASH Asset Management, said Maoye's trading debut was not too bad, given the lukewarm market sentiment. 'The new offering market lacks one or two big-scale and attractively priced offerings to reignite investors' interest in new stocks,' Mr Yiu said. He expected E-Land and Artini to receive similar responses from investors.