Despite the credit crunch and increased volatility, 2007 saw the strongest market in seven years for initial public offerings, thanks to...

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Despite the credit crunch and increased volatility, 2007 saw the strongest market in seven years for initial public offerings, thanks to foreign and technology companies. But analysts aren’t sure the momentum will continue.

“We’re starting to see a little more anxiety in the market,” says Brian Hamilton, chief executive of financial-research firm Sageworks. “I would be surprised if the [IPO] market would be as healthy in 2008 as it was in 2007.”

There may be fewer deals, but issuers are likely to be financially stronger than in the past, good news in a notoriously risky arena.

“If you can buy good companies in a volatile market that is slightly more depressed, it will be better in the long run,” says Hamilton.

The year saw the most technology IPOs since 2000, said Renaissance Capital’s IPOHome.com. One biggie: VMware (VMW), a spinoff of data-storage company EMC, raised more than $1 billion.

Techs are likely to remain big players as the sector accounts for 21 percent of deals in the pipeline. “With how well on-demand software providers did this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more issuance from that front,” says Sam Snyder, senior research analyst at IPOHome.com.

Shares of Athenahealth (ATHN), which provides business services to medical practices, trade at almost twice the September IPO price of $18 per share.

Foreign issuers more than doubled to 55 in 2007, representing 24 percent of IPO proceeds.

Two of the five best-performing IPOs were Chinese companies.