For some time now, Street Talk has been marveling at the exceptional performance of new issues through thick and thin, especially since their perkiness inexplicably contradicts the struggles of their INC. Index brethren. Many INC. listings were relatively new IPOs themselves, yet the Index has been trickling downward for well over a year. Indeed, this September any number of hot new issues of the past five years had recently fallen beneath their offering prices -- Apple Computer, Lotus Development, and MCI Communications, to name a few. But today, even though on average IPOs continue to shine, it's a rare new issue that is as hard to get as those distinguished losers were. Which means that, with a little effort, the man in the street can garner sizable positions in public offerings, rather than the 50-share tokens he used to have to coax from his broker.

Recently, some astute investors have been cashing in on the waning of IPO demand. They have formed chains across the country, with each member touching up a local syndicate member for a healthy hunk of a promising IPO. These are then pooled, and it doesn't take much luck for all hands to turn a robust profit. Indeed, as can be seen here, if such a pool had bought willy-nilly every June IPO across the board, within three months it would have made more than 21%. Left simply to market whim, that's a better quarterly performance than most mutual funds! All it takes is two or three outstanding gainers to turn the tide, and who cares how the INC. Index, or even how the Dow Jones Industrials, may wallow.

Maybe there's no such thing as a free lunch, especially on Wall Street, but the IPO market sure gives the average investor something to chew on.