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RealTime IT News

This Year's Half-Dozen 'Net Stock Heartthrobs

With seven months down and five to go, this year can't end fast enough for most Internet companies and their investors, as a downpour of red-stained Q2 reports drowns the dwindling hopes of many a doomed 'Net ticker.

The stock performance numbers continue to be scary. Of the 298 Internet companies that have been trading since last Dec. 31, only 28 have posted gains. In other words, if you bet randomly on any 'Net ticker at the beginning of the year, there's a 91% chance you lost money.

And if you were looking for the kind of big, triple-digit score that was commonplace in 1999, only six 'Net stocks, or 2%, would have paid off so far. So much for irrational exuberance.

Here are the Internet's only triple-digit gainers for the year to date:

DLK Datalink.net +275.7% GENI GenesisIntermedia.com +181.9% JNPR Juniper Networks +151.4% CHKP Check Point Software +133.4% AETH Aether Systems +132.4% TIBX Tibco Software +102.0%

Two of the top gainers are wireless players. Datalink.net , a provider of wireless service for users of phones, pagers and personal digital assistants, as well as a developer of wireless software, moved to the No. 1 spot from No. 4 through June with a 55.7% gain last month.

DLK dislodges another wireless company from the top slot. Aether Systems , which led all 'Net tickers YTD through June with a 186% gain, falls to No. 4 through July. Aether offers wireless information and transaction services and software.

GenesisIntermedia.com has been at or near the top all year. The company markets a network of Internet-enabled public kiosks in shopping malls, but is moving into the 'Net incubation business. With a value of $85 million, GENI is a small-capper, but its support from investors has been remarkably consistent since January.

Infrastructure provider Juniper Networks recovered from the spring stocks meltdown to post record highs in July. Though shares are down 18% from the July 14 closing price of $174.75, JNPR remains one of the three best-performing Internet stocks.

Firewall market leader Check Point Software has been the favorite choice of investors among security stocks this year, while Tibco Software has come from the middle of the pack, doubling in price since late May.