Opinion: Don’t buy Lyft and other money-losing IPOs

It’s spring, and the IPOs are blooming.

After a bitter winter, when plunging stock prices and a long government shutdown froze the market for initial public offerings, venture capitalists and Wall Street bankers are preparing to sell pieces of the biggest, hottest private companies to institutions and individual investors.

According to the Financial Times, more than 300 companies are ready to go public and want to raise as much as $50 billion. They include famous “unicorns” (private companies valued at over $1 billion) as No. 2 ride-sharing company Lyft LYFT, -0.10%  , which began trading on Friday; its Goliath competitor Uber; rental marketplace Airbnb; image-sharing social media company Pinterest; office-sharing company WeWork, and data analytics firm Palantir Technologies.

This new IPO boom comes a decade into a bull market and after a big rebound in both the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.30%  and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.00%   from their December 24, 2018 lows to within 5% of their all-time highs. Some recent reports on housing sales and prices and consumer confidence, together with plunging bond yields, warn of a weaker economy ahead.

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