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(NECN: Peter Howe, Boston) The NASDAQ stock exchange is marking a big week this week: Five companies are staging initial public stock offerings this week on the NASDAQ, the most in a week since May 2008. Among them is Watertown, Mass., battery maker A123 Systems, which is hoping to raise $300 million. In town to speak to the Boston College Chief Executives Club, NASDAQ chief executive Robert Greifeld called the boomlet of IPO's a sign of good news for the economy. "The spirit of entrepreneurship is the fundamental reason NASDAQ exists. We are the aspiration for entrepreneurs worldwide,'' Greifeld said. "Venture-capital-backed companies listing for the first time are the true positive for our economy. These are companies that are innovating, they're changing lives, and they're generating jobs.'' Not only is this week's crop of NASDAQ IPO's the biggest in a year and a quarter, the number of companies applying for initial public offerings on the NASDAQ hit a two-year high in August. "It's a very positive sign for the economy,'' said Putnam Investments CEO Bob Reynolds. He's hoping not for a return to the NASDAQ IPO frenzy of the late 1990s dot-com and telecom boom, but positive and sustainable IPO momentum. "I think a good pace, increasing month after month, shows us that the economy's on solid ground, and that's what we're all looking for.'' With this economy and stock market still choppy, Greifeld says companies that do clear the IPO bar, like A123, whose IPO would value the company at a little over $1 billion in total, are having to prove themselves to investors as especially compelling, because they have to overcome what he called so much investor cynicism. "I believe you'll see the quality of the IPOs, through the balance of the year, be on general somewhat higher than you would have in a normal period of time ... You have a cynical investor base out there, so you're going to face tough scrutiny, as you should.'' And like a normal pulse returning, after last year's economic collapse, every company successfully going public this autumn will be warmly welcomed as a sign of returning economic health. NECN will air Greifeld's address to the Chief Executives Club of Boston Sunday night at 8pm.