Economic News Pushes Stocks Higher

Strong economic numbers drew investors back to Internet stocks Thursday in advance of Friday’s job numbers. The day’s initial public offerings also did well, with search engine soaring more than four-fold.’s Internet Stock Index gained 1.51, or .27 percent, to 555.66, the Nasdaq Composite rose 20.11 to a record 2,706.23 and the Dow Jones industrial average jumped 95.62 to 11,066.42.

The day’s big standout was natural language search engine Ask Jeeves (ASKJ) which soared 50-15/16 to 64-15/16. The company sold 3 million shares at $14, raising $42 million.

The three other Internet-related IPOs also did well. CommerceOne (CMRC) soared 40 to 61. The Web procurement software developer sold 3.3 million shares at $21, raising just over $63 million. Primus Knowledge Solutions (PKSI) rose 6-9/16 to 17-9/16. The customer service software maker priced 4.15 million shares at $11 each. Finally, Clarent Corp. (CLRN) jumped 10-1/2 to 25-1/2. Clarent priced 4 million shares at $15, raising $60 million.

Real Networks Inc. (RNWK) jumped 9 to 77-7/8 on news that Microsoft’s WebTV Networks unit would add support for G2 audio to its set-top boxes.

America Online Inc. (AOL) up 1-3/4 to 111-3/4. Lehman Brothers put the stock on its “uncommon values” list, setting a $200 price target.

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) rose 5-1/8 to 177-3/8 on news it had sealed a marketing deal with Proctor & Gamble. P&G will market a variety of products to visitors across Yahoo!’s Internet network. Financial specifics weren’t disclosed.

The other portals were higher with Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) gaining 2-7/16 to 50-3/8, and Lycos Inc. (LCOS) rose 10-1/2 to 102-3/8.

Lycos Thursday signed a co-branding deal with Banc One’s that Lycos said could generate up to $135 million.

Go2Net Inc. (GNET) was down 1-5/8 to 90-1/4 after announcing it was buying Authorize.Net, an online payment verification service, for $90.5 million in cash and stock. (GOTO) shed 3-3/4 to 88-1/2 despite signing a search deal with Netscape.

iVillage Inc. (IVIL) gained 5-1/2 to 55-3/4. The online women’s community Thursday purchased Online Psychological Services for $25 million in cash and stock.

CNET Inc. (CNET) was off 5-7/8 to 51-3/4 after announcing plans for a $100 million advertising campaign in 1999. CNET said the campaign would result in losses for the third and fourth quarters. Analysts were expecting the company to earn 21 cents a share.

Healtheon Corp. (HLTH) gained 1/4 to 77-1/4. The company Thursday purchased Greenberg News Networks Inc., a privately-held medical news service, for $215 million.

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