American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK) has opened for trading. The first real open-print was $20.60 for some 6.62 million shares. Unfortunately, this is going to gear down some of the water expectations on the utility side.
The $21.50 pricing was well under expectations, and those expectations had been trimmed already. At $20.60 it is already trading as a busted IPO. We’ll give this one some time before calling this one by any name.
Despite the weakness, we actually think this will be huge for the water industry in general. That underwriting group was so large that this will create much more in water coverage from Wall Street analysts. Since opening, shares have weakened and are down to $20.45.
For whatever it is worth, one of the most defensive stocks that investors can flock to when they get worried about earnings and the market and the economy is in water utilities. This is the largest water utility in the US.
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Jon C. Ogg
April 23, 2008