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5 IPOs Prove Tech Is Alive and Well

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There may be plenty of people snuggled up in solid income stocks, but there is a growing market for new tech firms that are listing and launching.

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Who says high-tech stocks have hit the skids?

In a move that bodes well for the 2013 stock market, high-tech IPOs have been absolutely on fire in the closing weeks of 2012. In fact, judging by their gains, high-tech IPOs have soundly beaten the rest of the market's new issues over the last three months. At least five soared by more than 40%.

Even the IPOs that many market watchers thought would fizzle have jumped out of the box. The most recent is SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY), which debuted last week. Instead of landing with a thud, shares of the solar panel installer soared nearly 50% on its first day of trading from a reduced offering price of $8 per share.

That left SolarCity tied for third place among IPO performers in the quarter that ends December 31. Even as of late yesterday, SolarCity shares were still up by 55%.

But SolarCity is just the latest big winner. Here is a look at the other four winning high-tech IPOs based on their closing prices as of last week.

High-Tech IPO No. 2: 70% Gains

Located in Pleasanton, CA, Workday (NYSE:WDAY) is up 70% on its offer price of $28 per share.

The company is a leading provider of cloud-based computing software that helps businesses manage their office operations online. As such, Workday is getting a lift from two big trends-the movement of data and applications to the Web, a.k.a., "the cloud," and the need for companies to slash labor costs. It offers payroll, financial management, time tracking, procurement, and employee expense management.

Workday says it is redefining what it means to manage global and diverse workforces at a time when employees are using more wireless devices. In fact, the home page of the firm's Web site shows a picture of its software inside the screen of a smartphone.

No doubt, the firm shows strong growth. Shortly after its IPO, Workday said its fiscal 2013 third-quarter sales grew by 99% from the year-ago period.

High-Tech IPO Nos. 3 and 4: Two Biotech Issues Finish in a Tie

Intercept Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ICPT) is a development-stage biotech firm focused on novel therapeutics to treat chronic liver disease. The company says it has deep expertise in bile acid chemistry to treat liver diseases for which patients now have few options.

The company says its lead candidate, known as OCA, is the first product in its class to offer broad protection for the liver. Diseases such as hepatitis C can damage the body's second-largest organ and lead to death.

In the US, more than 1,700 people a year die from lack of liver transplants. Throw in the impact of obesity on the liver, and Intercept is looking at a global growth market. The stock is up more than 65% since it debuted on October 11.

For its part, Kythera Biopharma (NASDAQ:KYTH) is up nearly 65% since it went public on the same day as Intercept. Kythera is focused on what it calls "aesthetic medicine."

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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