Deals, Earnings Rule the Day
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New deals continued as the name of the game today, accounting for most of the very few price leaps in the Internet sector as the market awaits this week's earnings reports.
The internet.com Internet Stock Index closed down 16.69 or 3.03 percent, to 534.38, the Nasdaq Composite fell further from midday, dropping 34.10 to 2,830.38 and the Dow Jones industrial average was down 22.16 to 11,187.68 in the third lowest trading volume of the year.
E-commerce deal winners included Ticketmaster Online CitySearch (TMCS), which ended the day up 6-/16 to 40-16, following a deal with Microsoft Corp. Monday to take MSN's Sidewalk. In return, Microsoft takes a 9 percent stake in ticket seller, with the option to extend the equity to 13 percent.
Despite the absence of a Post Office-approved stamp download product, Stamps.com (STMP) snagged a deal with Office Depot which sent its stock soaring up 5-9/16 to 46-3/16. The office-supply retailer will sell the Stamps.com product-to-be on its own Web site.
AdForce Inc. (ADFC), one of three Net stocks to beat the Street today, soared 4-5/8 to 33-5/8 at midday but ended the day up 1-1/4 at 30-1/4. Priceline.com Inc. (PCLN) also lost its midday lead of 3-27/32, ending 1/2 up at 97-21/32 on the news of its earnings as well as its ticketing deal with Continental Airlines.
None of the online brokerages had a particularly good day. Even E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP), which reported losses of 10 cents a share in the third quarter, 2 cents better than Street estimates, fell 2-13/16. Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD), Charles Schwab (SCH) and National Discount Brokers Group Inc. (NDB) also ended down.
No one was surprised when America Online Inc. (AOL) finally gave in to the European Internet/telco fee structure and announced plans to roll out a free service in the UK, after weeks of hints and speculation. The Internet giant ended down 7/8 at 119.
China.com continued to fall today following a spectacular debut last week, falling 4-1/2 or 8.59 percent to 45-1/4, after the China Network Information Center (CNNIC) reported the portal has fallen further behind the competition in China.
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