IEM Launches Google IPO market

Impatient to bet on the outcome of Google Inc.'s planned initial public offering? The people who run the University of Iowa's much-watched futures market for presidential elections this week started letting folks wager on the Internet search-engine company's market capitalization at the end of its first day of trading. Through the IOWA ELECTRONIC MARKETS' Web site (, individuals can buy and sell two types of real-money futures contracts related to the Google IPO. The value of one type is linked to where the actual market cap falls between $0 and $100 billion. The second type of contract pays out to people who pick the correct range in which the market cap falls. When this column (Bids and Offers) went to bed, the futures for the $25 billion to $30 billion market cap band attracted the highest price, suggesting that's where people think the market cap is going to fall, but trading volume is still thin.