Investing: They're Back!

In the '90s, IPOs dazzled, fizzled and died. Now some good firms with real prospects are lining up

After a three-year nuclear winter for initial public offerings (IPOs), some buds are finally pushing through the rubble. No one expects this scorched corner of the stock market to flower quickly, and IPOs are high-risk investments even in the best of times. Yet the allure of getting in early on a stock that just might pay your toddler's way through college is undeniable--and if you're ever going to plow this field, now is the time to do it.

Why? The late 1990s, the manic period most people associate with IPOs, were all about founders cashing out of profitless ventures. Yes, IPO...

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