RealTime IT News

ISDEX Backslides In Bid For Black

The ISDEX's Sisyphean struggle to get back to the black continues.

After coming within 6.5% of break-even for the year on Sept. 20, internet.com's Internet Stock Index slipped 6.8% in the week of trading ended Wednesday, leaving the ISDEX down 10.5% for the month and 12.8% year-to-date.

The index finished Wednesday at 750, and needs to reach 860.35 to get above water.

In comparison, the Nasdaq is off 6.8% for the week, 13.1% in September and 10.2% YTD.

Taking a look at this week's big ISDEX gainers won't take long, since only Phone.com turned in a decent advance, soaring 18.7%. Five other ISDEX stocks notched gains of 2.2% or less.

Things were far more crowded on the south side, with seven ISDEX stocks losing between 20% and 30%, while priceline.com was in a class of its own, dropping 54.1% on a third-quarter warning and a spate of bad press generated in large part from a negative profile of the company on CBS' "48 Hours" television news program.

Here are the highlights:

Phone.com, up 18.7%: Shares of this maker of wireless Internet access software have zigged this month while most other 'Net stocks have zagged (or, more appropriately, sagged). PHCM is up 30.2% in September, and 39.9% since Sept. 18.

The real catalyst for Phone.com's resurgence, however, came in early August when the company announced a $6.4 billion merger with Web messaging software vendor Software.com . The market loved the deal, instantly lifting shares of both. Through Wednesday, PHCM is up 54.2% from its pre-merger price of $78.06. That's a nice bounce.

priceline.com, down 54.1%: The "name-your-price" e-tailer already was having a bad week and month before issuing Wednesday's Q3 revenue warning. Investors began selling off shares after hearing that the "48 Hours" show would focus on consumer complaints regarding the seller of airline tickets, hotel rooms, groceries and other products.

Then the Q3 warning came out, and PCLN shares nosedived 42% on Wednesday alone to close at $10.75. (Through trading early Thursday afternoon, shares had gained back 8.7% to $11.88.)

CMGI , down 26.9%: The Internet operating and development company didn't exactly get a lift from this week's Q4 earnings report, which beat analysts estimates but still showed heavy losses, despite record revenue. Like PCLN, however, CMGI has bounced back somewhat in early trading Thursday, gaining 8.5% to $28.88. That still leaves the company down 35.5% in September and 79% for the year.

VerticalNet , down 24.9%: After showing signs of strength early in the month, VERT has come unraveled, falling 43% from its Sept. 5 closing price of $57.19.

However, a pair of investment analysts rushing to the stock's defense has turned things around, at least for the moment. Shares had risen 16.7% from Tuesday's close through mid-day trading Thursday after VERT received votes of confidence from Lehman Bros. (which reiterated a "buy" rating) and W.R. Hambrecht (reiterating its "strong buy" rating).