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RealTime IT News

Bulls Declare Victory

Investors desperately searching for an excuse to buy beaten down Internet and tech stocks were treated to a dose of weakening economic growth data with the National Association of Purchasing Management index showing an impressive slowdown in the manufacturing sector.

Bulls were quick to declare victory by ignoring further rate hike jitters and buying stocks fast and furious. Blue chips lagged the rally in early morning trade, but strength in Big Board tech issues pushed the NYSE up 129.87 to 10,652.20. The Nasdaq stole the show through most of the trading day, with upside movement across the board that sent the Composite climbing 181.59 to 3,582.50, while the ISDEX tacked on 7.55%.

Shares of Akamai Technologies roared 7-1/8 to 73-7/8, after the networker announced it had inked a deal with Excite@Home to boost quality, performance, and reliability of content delivery over the Internet cable access provider's network backbone.

PurchasePro.com added 1-13/16 to 23-1/16, after news that the B2B exchange has been selected by Hilton Hotels to build a hospitality e-marketplace. Rival B2Bs climbed in sympathy, with shares of Freemarkets edging 1-3/16 to 44-1/2, Ariba soaring 6-3/4 to 58-7/8, and B2B incubator Internet Capital Group adding 3-23/32 to 30-21/32.

A bright spot in the IPO patch saw ONI Systems rocket off its $25 opening price to 82-9/16 by the close. The fiber-optic component maker's price range had been set at $21-$23 apiece, before lead underwriter Goldman Sachs bumped it higher ahead of the debut due to strong demand.

Shares of Yahoo! leapt 7 to 120-1/16, amidst speculation that the Net media concern is in discussions to acquire MyPlay.com. According to the WSJ, terms of the deal have the MP3 Web site going for roughly $200 million in cash and stock.

Net2Phone jumped 3-5/16 to 32-13/16, after the Internet telephony start-up reported a better-than-expected loss of $0.21 per share, a penny ahead of markedly revised analyst estimates.

Shares of Verio eased 2-3/16 to 54-11/16, but were relatively unfazed by Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette's best attempt at throwing a wrench into the company's planned multibillion-dollar merger with Japan's NTT . The brokerage firm abruptly downgraded the business ISP from a "buy" to a "sell," citing the unlikelihood of a higher bid forthcoming from a competing buyer and opposition from Capitol Hill.



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