Sixty-four firms filed initial public offerings in the first quarter, 10 more than the same period last year and the highest amount for an opening quarter in seven years, PricewaterhouseCoopers reported this week.

Combined, the IPOs had a total value of $12.1 billion, with an average deal size of $190 million. The total value of all offerings in the first quarter of 2006 was $11.6 billion.

Financial-services, communications, and real-estate firms accounted for the largest deals.

Despite the gains, both the number and value of offerings were down from the final quarter of 2006, when 89 firms filed IPOs with a total value of $19.7 billion.

"2007 is off to a strong street," Scott Gehsmann, a capital markets partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said in a statement. "As we expected, the financial-services and technology sectors were much more active than in Q1 2006."

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