Abundance of Good News Helps Internet Stocks

Internet stocks were the star of the day Monday as the sector posted strong gains across the board, boosted by several deals and positive earnings forecasts.

Internet.com’s Internet Stock Index climbed 27.56, or 4.39 percent, to 655.58, the Nasdaq gained 62.67 to a record 2,653.36 and the Dow Jones industrial average added 25.49 to 10,715.16.

Online brokers turned in gains after U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray released a report saying online trading grew 49 percent in the first quarter and E*Trade announced it had surpassed 1 million accounts. E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) gained 15-15/16 to 120, Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) jumped 14-1/8 to 141-1/8, National Discount Brokers Group Inc. (NDB) added 5-5/16 to 60-13/16,.

Charles Schwab Corp. (SCH) was the only loser, slumping a fraction to 120 after an brief outage earlier in the day.

Priceline.com Inc. (PCLN) rocketed 32-3/4 to 120-3/4 after announcing it had served 1 million customers in its first year. The stock was also rated a “buy” by Warburg Dillon Read.

Online auto retailer Autobytel.com Inc. (ABTL) gained 3-3/4 to 32-5/8 after adding a feature that gives auto dealers the ability to bid for used cars on the site.

eBay Inc. (EBAY) gained 8-7/8 to 209 after buying auction house Butterfield & Butterfield for $260 million. The company is also set to report earnings later Monday. Analysts have forecast a 2-cent profit.

InfoSpace.com Inc. (INSP) jumped 18-1/8 to 134-7/8 after announcing plans to introduce a new service that will allow persons to receive news, stock quotes and other information directly on their computers without visiting a Web site.

Network Solutions Inc. (NSOL) gained 6-3/4 to 86-3/4 after announcing it had signed 100 ISPs to its International Premier Domain Registration Services program.

Internet provider PSINet Inc. (PSIX) gained 2-1/2 to 63 Monday after agreeing to buy two Brazilian Internet providers.

Shares of VocalTec Communications Ltd. (VOCL) jumped 2-1/2 to 12-11/16 after China Telecom agreed to use its Internet telephony software.


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