The number of U.S. companies that went public in a quarter moved into double digits for the first time this year, according to recently released data. Some 20 companies went public in the third quarter of 2003, compared with five in the second quarter of 2003 and five in the first quarter of the year, reports Hoovers Inc., Austin, Texas, a business information provider, in its latest IPO Scorecard. Those IPOs (initial public offerings) raised $3.6 billion. Year to date, there have been 30 IPOs, which raised $6.2 billion. This compares with 50 IPOs, which raised $17.9 billion, by the same time in 2002. Justin Burrows, Hoovers money editor, said a busy fourth quarter may also be in the works. "There were 46 filings in the third quarter -- exactly 46 times more than in Q2. Many of these IPOs will be ripe to price . . . which will likely mean a busy Q4 as well."