Green Comes Back to Net Sector

Internet stocks staged an afternoon comeback Friday recovering from a
that had sent the ISDEX down almost 5 percent. For the first time in three
days, issues finished the
day in the green.’s Internet Stock Index rebounded nicely, + 10.66, or 1.12
percent, to 960.23, the Nasdaq Composite jumped 114.71 higher to 4572.60 and
the Dow Jones industrial average lost 58.33 to 10921.92.

Merrill Lynch Internet analyst Henry Blodget came out again in favor of the
Net sector, saying he remains optimistic about the potential growth and
profitablitity of Internet leaders.

“We continue to believe there is long-term upside for the leading Internet
stocks. We also continue to
believe that the market is transitioning into a more mature phase of growth
and that this transition, combined with a massive increase in competition
across all internet sectors,
will cause a shakeout and consolidation. As this consolidation continues,
we believe the Internet spoils will increasingly go to the few, not the
many” Blodget wrote in a note to clients.

Investors in Broadcom Corp. (BRCM)
welcomed such optimism. Shares shot up 31-15/16 to 242-7/8.

ValueClick Inc. (VCLK)
had a sluggish, but green debut into the public marketplace. Shares rose
1-15/16 to 20-15/16. The online ad firm sold 4 million shares at $19.

A number of business-to-business e-commerce issues continued taking it on
the chin. Commerce One (CMRC)
lost 24-1/16 to 149-1/4. and Freemarkets (FMKT)
was down 14 to 121. Inc. (KOOP)
plunged 2-9/16 lower, or 41 percent, to 3-11/16. A report from the online
medical site’s auditors, released Friday, expressed “substantial doubt”
about the firm’s long-term viability.

eBay Inc. (EBAY)
dropped 31-1/8 to 176. The online auctioneer was subpoenaed by the U.S.
Justice Department. Although the details of the action were not released, it
is suspected to be part of a price-fixing investigation into Sotheby’s
Holdings Inc. and Christie’s International Plc.

E.spire Communications Inc. (ESPI)
gave up 2-21/32 to 7-1/32. The provider of voice and data services Friday
announced it had hired Morgan Stanley Dean Witter to examine fund-raising
options. The firm is also delaying the release of its final 1999 financial
statements. NV (TRDR)
fell 8-5/8 lower to 19-3/8 after its IPO debut. The Dutch-based publisher of
Internet classified ads sold 13 million shares at $28.56, raising $371.3

Net2Phone Inc. (NTOP)
added 3-3/4 to 59-1/8. A group led by AT&T took a 39 percent stake in the
company. Yahoo! Inc. also made a substantial investment. Inc. (PASA)
gained 1-3/8 to 6-3/4. Computer maker Gateway Inc. (GTW)
took a $10 million stake

in the firm, which publishes a portal aimed at
Hispanics in the United States.

Avenue A Inc. (AVEA)
rose 1-1/4 to 30-1/2. Thomas Weisel Partners initiated coverage of the
Internet ad firm with a “strong buy.”

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