RealTime IT News

Upside Surprises Can't Rescue Internets

Internet issues fell throughout Wednesday, despite two high-profile companies rising after reporting better than expected earnings.

internet.com's Internet Stock Index (ISDEX) was off 16.80, or 1.93 percent, to 855.20, the Nasdaq Composite dropped 97.50 to 4069.90 and the Dow Jones industrial average gained 3.10 to 11032.99.

VerticalNet and Vignette did provide some positive surprises. Shares of Vignette (VIGN) rocketed 17-1/2 points higher to 234. Henry Nada, senior analyst at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray reiterated his "strong buy" and raised the price target from $200 to $400. Nada sited "exceptional market fundamentals" and "key partnerships" for his revised target. "In our view, Vignette should be a core holding for investors wanting direct exposure to the e-business economy" wrote Nada in a note to clients.

VerticalNet (VERT) rose 9 to 269-1/2. Reporter@Large-Luke Fronefield will publish a note on the company's progress tomorrow.

eBay Inc. (EBAY) jumped 16-1/16 to 153-9/16. The online auctioneer Tuesday reported fourth-quarter pro-forma earnings of 4 cents, 2 cents higher than analysts had forecast.

The good news led Robertson Stephens to reiterate its "buy" rating. Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette also reiterated its "buy" and said the stock should be a core part of an Internet investor's portfolio.

Real Networks Inc. (RNWK) zoomed 12 points higher to 169-7/8. The streaming media company Tuesday reported earnings of $6.1 million, or 7 cents a share. That's 2 cents higher than forecasts.

Also, the company late Tuesday purchased Internet software firm NetZip and announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

That prompted DLJ to raise its six to 12-month price target to $280 from $150.

Losers included Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) , down 17 to 328-9/16, Verisign Inc. (VRSN) off 7-1/16 to 189-13/16, Infospace.com Inc. (INSP) falling 9-1/2 to 140 and Check Point Software Technologies (CHKP) down 17-3/8 to 262.

Commerce One Inc. (CMRC) was off 14-7/8 to 185. The electronic commerce software provider reported a fourth-quarter loss of 40 cents a share, almost double the year-ago figure. Analysts had only forecast a 15-cent loss.

F5 Networks (FFIV) fell 19 points lower to 114-1/2, despite reporting better-than-expected quarterly results. The company posted a fiscal first-quarter profit of $4.2 million, or 18 cents a share -- 4 cents better than expected.

E-Stamp Corp. (ESTM) slipped 1/8 to 18. The company Wednesday announced plans to market technology that will allow event tickets to be printed using standard equipment.

Priceline.com Inc. (PCLN) added 3-5/16 to 66-1/4. The company Wednesday announced an alliance with Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. to take its