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RealTime IT News

Net Stocks Have Strong Finish

Internet stocks finished off the week strong after several analyst upgrades and news that Microsoft will invest $100 million into business-to-business leader, VerticalNet.

Internet stock investors were also focused on high-speed access provider, Excite@Home, after a surpising report from Robertson Stephens analyst, Michael Graham.

internet.com's Internet Stock Index was up 16.74, or 1.91 percent, to 894.62, the Nasdaq Composite gained 45.89 to 4235.40 and the Dow Jones industrial average lost 99.59 to 11251.71.

Retek (RETK) rose 4-1/16 to 71-5/16. Dain Rauscher Wessels initiated coverage with a "buy" rating and $90 price target.

Inktomi Corp. (INKT) gained 12-9/16 to 112-9/16. The Internet software maker reported a first-quarter pro-forma loss of 2 cents a share, beating estimates of a 4-cent loss. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter raised its price target from $72.50 to $130.

eGain Communications (EGAN) jumped 4-3/8. Prudential Volpe Technology initiated coverage of the email management company with a "strong buy" rating and 12-month price target of $86.

The star of the session was VerticalNet Inc. (VERT) , soaring 58-1/2 to 252-1/16 on news that Microsoft will invest $100 million into the B2B portal as part of an electronic-commerce alliance.

Digital Island Inc. (ISLD) matured 11-5/8 to 91-5/8. The network services firm Friday filed to sell an additional 4.5 million shares in a secondary offering.

Excite@Home (ATHM) fell 2-3/8 to 40-1/4. The cable Internet company reported a pro-forma fourth-quarter profit of $514,000, or less than a penny per share. Also, Excite@Home President George Bell was promoted to chief executive officer.

In a note issued Friday, Robertson Stephens analyst Michael Graham said plans to offer Excite@Home through Digital Subscriber Line providers, along with the implementation of a solid management team, should be beneficial for the stock.

"We believe the two most important issues affecting the stock over the next six months will be the resolution of the open-access debate and the first signs of agreements with current cable partners for continued deals after the exclusive period begins expiring in 2002. We expect the open-access issue will effectively end in Portland by mid-February and that the result will be favorable to AT&T. We expect that by year-end or sooner, we could see the first hints of post-exclusivity deals with existing partners.

"In our view, both of these developments could help ATHM stock move back to old highs near $100," he said.

Phone.com Inc. (PHCM) zoomed 14-7/8 higher to 140. The company reported fiscal second-quarter revenue jumped seven-fold to $12.8 million.

E-commerce company Shopnow.com (SPNW) dropped 3-7/16 to 18-1/2, despite reporting better-than-expected results. The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $18.9 million, or 51 cents a share, down from a loss of $16.8 million, or 65 cents a share, in the prior quarter. Analysts had forecast a 72-cent loss.


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