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RealTime IT News

Fed Chief Spooks Markets

On comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan over concerns about current stock valuations, the markets closed broadly lower.

internet.com's Internet Stock Index closed down 7.02, or 1.38 percent, to 501.75, the Nasdaq Composite fell 16.00 to 2,758.62 and the Dow Jones industrial average slumped 103.85 to 11,094.60.

E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) fell 1-13/16 to 25-15/16 and Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) fell 1-7/16 to 21-5/16.

Lehman Brothers' Richard Repetto lowered his ratings on both brokerages to "outperform" from "buy," citing concerns about the rising cost of acquiring customers.

Other online brokers fell in sympathy. DLJdirect (DIR) slumped 11/16 to 18-7/16, National Discount Broker Group Inc. (NDB) slumped 1-3/4 to 34-1/2, and Muriel Siebert & Co. (SIEB) shed 13/16 to 18-5/8.

Intuit Corp. (DIR) surged 8-3/16 to 91-1/16.

For the fourth fiscal quarter ended July 31, Intuit had a loss before gains and losses from the sale of securities of $16.3 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with pro forma net income of $1.6 million, or 3 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Analysts had expected Intuit to report a loss of 33 cents a share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial, which tracks company forecasts. The financial software company has been aggressively transitioning to the Net.

America Online Inc. (AOL) closed down 1-1/2 to 99-3/16. AOL's CompuServe unit Friday signed a deal with CompUSA to provide novices with Internet access, education and technical support. AOL also signed a marketing deal with The Gap.

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) was off 1/16 to 128-1/2. After much furor, the company Friday modified its purchase circles to allow customers to exclude their personal information.

Looking at the Net leaders, eBay Inc. (EBAY) dropped 1-3/16 to 127-1/4, DoubleClick Inc. (DCLK) fell 2-13/16 to 103-1/8, Excite@Home (ATHM) closed off 1/4 to 40-1/2, and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) tumbled 3-11/16 to 149.

In his weekly Web report, BancBoston Robertson Stephens' Keith Benjamin said sector leaders appear to be on the rebound making now a good time for investors to add to existing positions and broaden their list of candidates.

Stocks that Benjamin feels are attractive include America Online, as well as e-tailers Priceline.com Inc., Amazon.com, Ebay and eToys. He also said CMGI is attractive for individuals who want to purchase a broad basket of Internet stocks and avoid some volatility.

NetB@nk (NTBK) rose 5/8 to 25-3/16. There are rumors that the company will be bought out.

Although there were no IPOs today, one of yesterday's IPOs continued to do well. Bamboo.com Inc. (BAMB) jumped 5-13/16 to 23-3/8. The company allows house hunters to view 3-D property images.


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