RealTime IT News

Internet IPOs Head in Different Directions

Investors had a rare opportunity to grab two Internet IPOs on a Friday. However, investor appetite for the companies was not equal.

Shares of business-to-business auctioneer FreeMarkets were rocketing shortly after their debut while online health retailer MotherNature.com was caught in a slump.

Just after 11:30 a.m. Eastern, internet.com's Internet Stock Index was up 9.10, or 1.11 percent, to 828.20, the Nasdaq Composite had shed 11.98 to 3,582.19 and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 30.28 to 11,165.07.

FreeMarkets Inc. (FMKT) had soared 190 to 238. The company sold 3.6 million shares at $48. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter were lead underwriters. Bear Stearns & Co. took the unusual step of initiating coverage on FreeMarkets before its debut, setting a $300 price target.

In contrast, MotherNature.com (MTHR) was off 1-1/4 to 11-3/4. The company sold 4.1 million shares at $13 each.

America Online Inc. (AOL) was up 3 to 89-1/4 amid reports the company may be eyeing an alliance with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT). Analysts say an announcement is imminent that would have AOL setting up kiosks in Wal-Mart stores. A hook-up with AOL would help Wal-Mart advance its Internet strategy which the company is set to unveil early next year. Both companies refused to comment on the reports.

Other leaders were mostly higher, with Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) up 2 to 26-7/8, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) up 3-13/16 to 107-7/16, eBay Inc. (EBAY) was up 2-1/4 to 162-7/8, Real Networks Inc. (RNWK) had jumped 18-1/16 to 176-15/16 and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) had gained 8-1/2 to 348-1/2.

Finally, OneMain.com (ONEM) was up 1-1/2 to 18-1/2 after ING Barings initiated coverage of the Internet provider with a "strong buy."

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