Flippers: In The Shadows Of Wall Street

The Northwest Airlines Inc. initial public offering on Mar. 17 was not exactly a scorcher. Originally expected to be priced between 19 and 21, it was offered at 13 and immediately traded down to 127 8. But that didn't deter one flipper, a professional who buys IPOs at the initial offering price and tries to sell them in the next hours or days for a quick profit. He bought several thousand shares of Northwest at the offering hoping it would reach 131 2 in a few days, a modest 5% profit. He also had another goal: ingratiating himself with his broker. "I bought it because it will help me get other things," says one flipper. "Maybe I can buy myself a friend."

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