RealTime IT News

Online Brokers Propel Internet Stocks

Many of the major Internet brokers posted strong gains Thursday as the major market indices continued to set records.

The Nasdaq Composite gained 28.96 to close at 2,573.39 and the Dow Jones industrial average added 112.39 to end at 10,197.70. Both represented new records. Internet.com's Internet Stock Index climbed 9.41, or 1.54 percent, to 621.46.

One of the day's biggest gainers was Spyglass Inc. (SPYG) which soared 4 to 17-5/8. The company, which makes Internet software for hand-held devices, Thursday bought Navitel Communications for $11.3 million in stock. Navitel has developed Windows CE-based software for Internet-enabled telephones.

Shares of most of the major online brokers showed strength Thursday, buoyed by a positive long-term earnings outlook. JB Oxford Holdings Inc. (JBOH) soared 5-11/16 to 14-3/16, Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) gained 10-3/4 to 105-1/2 and E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) added 8-3/8 to 92-7/8.

Digital Subscriber Line provider Rhythms NetConnections Inc. (RTHM) gained 1-7/8 to 71 on its second day of trading. Salomon Smith Barney analyst Jack Grubman Thursday initiated coverage of the stock with a "buy" rating.

After being up more than 8 earlier in the day, shares of Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) closed down 1-3/4 to 206-11/16. A number of key Internet analysts failed to upgrade their ratings on the company despite its better-than-expected earnings released Wednesday.

Shares of Internet security software maker Check Point Software Technologies Inc. (CHKP) jumped 6-15/16 to 33-11/16. The company said it expects to report strong first-quarter results.

Online auctioneer eBay Inc. (EBAY) climbed 21-3/4 to 171-3/4. The company is considering increasing its number of outstanding shares to 900 million. That prompted speculation that eBay may soon go on a buying spree to ward off potential market erosion from new competitor Amazon.com Inc..

Network solutions provider Exodus Communications Inc. (EXDS) gained 16-9/16 to 181-13/16 in advance of a 2-for-1 stock split set for Monday.

On the IPO front, Value America Inc. (VUSA) soared as high as 74-1/4 after debuting at 23. The stock ended up 32-3/16 to 55-3/16. Value America is an Internet retailer which sells a wide variety of name-brand products.