Initial public offerings will rebound only in 2010, despite a pick-up in activity that some investors say signal a resurgence, the National Venture Capital Association said on Thursday.

For those encouraged by such signs as the $340.4 million raised by battery maker A123 Systems Inc in its recent IPO, the trade association's message in its quarterly report is that total IPOs fell far short of historical norms.

Three venture-backed IPOs worth a total $572 million were launched in the third quarter, down from the second quarter's five deals worth $720 million.

The fact that the many in the media are classifying three IPOs as a resurgence is evidence of how low our expectations have become, NVCA President Mark Heesen said in a statement.

Still, that was more than the one deal worth $187 million in the third quarter last year.

The figures, based on an exit poll conducted by the association and Thomson Reuters, also showed acquisitions down from last quarter.

The third quarter had 62 acquisitions with a total disclosed value of $1.2 billion, less than half the second quarter's 64 deals worth $2.5 billion. The 2008 third quarter had 88 deals worth $3 billion.

The dip in acquisitions is not the direction we hoped to see. While the psychology of the market is trending positive, our original forecast of a true recovery not beginning until 2010 still unfortunately holds true, Heesen said in a statement.

Dow Jones VentureSource put out its own numbers on third quarter deals on Thursday. Its findings were similar to the NVCA, but using a different methodology found that venture-backed liquidity was $2.7 billion in the third quarter, down 49 percent from the $5.32 billion of one year ago.

The director of global research for Dow Jones also took a more optimistic view than Heesen. Jessica Canning said she saw signs of a significant thaw.

The trickle of venture-backed IPOs over the past two quarters appears to be growing into a steady stream, which is a welcome sign of recovery for investors, she said.

The National Venture Capital association showed that so far in 2009, IPOs and acquisitions total up to $5.7 billion. By the same time last year, there had been $12.3 billion in deals, nearly all in acquisitions.

The report said the A123 Systems offering was the largest since March 2007, a year in which there were 86 venture-backed IPOs. That was a peak year since the dot-com bust of 2001.

The other two third-quarter IPOs were LogMeIn Inc , a provider of remote access applications, which raised $106.7 million in the communications and media sector, and Cumberland Pharmaceuticals Inc , a specialty pharmaceutical company in Nashville, Tennessee, which raised $85 million.

As for prospective IPOs, Heesen said that many companies with plans had failed to take an important step -- registering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

(Reporting by David Lawsky; Editing by Richard Chang)