Public Private Equity Gets Unexpected Boost

Could 2009 be a rebound year for publicly-trade private equity firms? It wouldn’t seem to make much sense, but neither did the near-fatal beatings that some of these stocks took last year. So, with that in mind:

Following the first five days of 2009 trading, most publicly-listed PE firms have experienced major stock bumps. The top dog has been American Capital, which is up a whopping 88.61 percent. Fortress Investment Group is nipping at its heels with a 77% gain, while Allied Capital is up 57.8 percent. Other gainers include London-based 3i Group up 32.55% and Blackstone Group up 10.62 percent.

Even some of the PE-related debt vehicles are rising, with KKR Financial closing today up more than 63% from its market open on January 2.

The caveats here are obvious, and huge. First, five trading days is a very short sample, even if the overall Dow has dropped over the same period. Moreover, none of the aforementioned U.S. firms is anywhere near cracking the $10 per share mark (Fortress, for example, closed up around $2.25 per share). But in a year when everyone expects private equity returns to leave the skids for the dump, it’s good to see some performance figures looking up.