The shortest month of the year saw Internet stocks zoom to record highs,
volume, and perhaps a newfound awareness with investors who may start to
realize there’s more to Web stocks than Netscape, Yahoo!, or Amazon.com.
Our exclusive analysis of ISDEX, Internet Stock Index, shows that since
October 10, 1996, the all-time high for this leading pure-play Internet
index–the only one that shows the latest cutting-edge net-centric stocks
and not your all-purpose interactive media companies–was 137.92. That
intraday mark was a full 37% better than the ISDEX benchmark of 100 of
Take a look at ISDEX, a sampling of Internet stocks, and our analytics for
Microcosm Internet: ISDEX
Feb % vs.
% of total
average % difference
% change vs. overall avg.
Fueling the hoo-haa in ISDEX was President Clinton’s oracle at the
Robertson Stephens investment conference in San Francisco. Of course the
conference itself also raised the profile of Internet stocks thanks to the
bevy of companies presenting. In fact, Clinton wasn’t supposed to be the
speaker, Vice President Al (Techno) Gore was. Clinton said he “pulled rank”
to get the gig.
The combination of Clinton and his tax-free Internet stance sent Wall
Street trading. Look at the ISDEX volume trading on Feb. 27: 35 million
shares. That’s fully 62% more than the average ISDEX volume per day since
The final trading day of February capped off a hot month. Fully 67% more
shares were traded in February versus the entire span. Nine percent of the
35 stocks in this basket index traded last month–9% of the entire trading
for the group going back 17 months changed hands in the little 28 days of
No small feat in a universe of 4.5 billion shares for the sample period, or
an average 12.9 million per day. Extracting meaning from the numbers
doesn’t take rocket science or calls to Psychic Friends.
With Microsoft’s Bill Gates defending his firms’ “bundle” strategy before
the Senate, and Netscape’s Jim Barksdale and Sun’s Scott McNealy playing
plaintiffs before Utah Senator Orin Hatch, the nation was glued to C-Span
watching the inner workings of the new Internet era being debated as
From Clinton in San Francisco talking about the new e-commerce era to
Senators in Washington trying to ensure a non-monopolist stance for this
global computer network, ladies and gentlemen, the Internet is front and
center on the U.S. agenda–the Beltway, Main Street, and Wall Street.