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RealTime IT News

Is the Sell-off Stampede Over?

The Nasdaq had a record week with an overall 19 percent rise. The e-bulls were out and they were having fun. Maybe the sell-off stampede is over.

The inside word for investors was fiber optics. A couple weeks ago New Focus started out at $20, and ended at 51, an 155 percent increase. It rode last week's increase to 71-15/16.

ONI Systems (ONIS) is also in the fiber optic sector. Interest was such that the company nearly doubled its opening price. The $25 opening closed at 82-9/16, about a 230 percent pop. It was the end of March that the Nasdaq saw such an increase when ArrowPoint jumping 247 percent. NI systems slipped to 80 on Friday.

Recently, ONI Systems reached three-year agreements with Colt Telecom Group in Europe, KVH in Japan, and MetroRED in Latin America. ONI Systems' equipment have add-drop capabilities that increase the capacity of fiber networks.

Goldman, Sachs was the lead underwriter.

But investors had no "optical" illusions when it came to the week's other IPOs.

CrossWorlds Software (CWLD) tried to excite investor interest by lowering their opening price to $10. It didn't work as their 4 million shares offering end at 10-1/8. It was at 10-1/16 on Friday.

CrossWorlds works with companies such as Farmland Industries, Siemens, and U.S. West in using the Internet to integrate sales, customer service and procurement software.

Chase H&Q was the lead underwriter.

First Horizon Pharmaceutical Corporation (FHRX) also lowered their opening price. The range had been $12 to $14, but the $8 opening price was virtually ignored, ending at 8-1/16. It was at 8-1/8 by Friday.

First Horizon Pharmaceutical Corporation acquires licenses for pharmaceutical products and markets them through their own sales structure. They focus on respiratory, cardiovascular, pain/inflammation and gastroenterological prescription products.

Chase H&Q was the lead underwriter.

Siliconware Precision Industries (SPILA) debuted at $8.49 and ended at 9. They raised $255 million.

Located in Taiwan, the company provides semiconductor packaging and test equipment services. It was already trading on the Taiwan and London markets.

The lead underwriters were CS First Boston and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

Another company that lowered its opening price was Exult (EXLT). It opened at 10 and ended the same. It had also lowered the number of shares offered from 14 to 9 million. Exult has nothing to do with fiber optics and there was no investor interest. However, it did raise $90 million.

Using the Internet, Exult provides 24/7 human resource services to their Global 500 clients. These services include employee communications, employee development, organization, payroll, and recruiting.

Merrill Lynch was the lead underwriter.