Internet Auctioneers, IPOs Soar

Internet stocks continued their high-flying ways Friday, helped from strong showings by Internet auctioneers and two successful initial public offerings.

The Nasdaq Composite finished Friday up 28.77 to 2,590.38, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 37.51 to 10,689.67 and’s Internet Stock Index was up 13.15, or 2.18 percent, to 617.10.

Internet auctioneer Ubid (UBID) jumped 18 to 69-1/8 after reporting first-quarter revenues jumped to $34.3 million in the first quarter from $24.1 million last quarter. That started a wave of optimism that benefitted market leader eBay Inc. (EBAY), sending it up 28-1/8 to 200-1/8. eBay is scheduled to release its first-quarter earnings on Monday. Analysts have forecast a 2-cent profit compared to a 1-cent profit in the same period a year earlier. Inc. (RBID) rose 2-5/16 to 8-1/8 after saying it plans an online shopping mall and auction site. Inc. (PCLN) gained 11-5/8 to 88. The “name your price” retailer of airline tickets and hotel rooms was added to Goldman Sachs’ recommended list. The firm has a price target of $120 over the next six months to a year.

Online brokers did well again Friday. Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) rose 6-3/8 to 127 after it was rated “market outperform” by Goldman Sachs analyst Richard Strauss, who initiated coverage. E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) rose 8-1/16 to 104-1/16 after announcing a 2-for-1 stock split that takes effect May 21. Inc. (AMZN) rose 19-1/16 to 209-1/8 on hopes that the company will beat earnings estimates when it reports next week. Analysts expect the company to post a 29-cent loss compared to a 7-cent loss a year ago.

Recent IPO Critical Path Inc. (CPTH) was one of the day’s biggest losers, slumping 23-1/4 to 94-1/8. The company’s first-quarter loss increased to 77 cents a share compared to 28 cents a share a year ago.

Internet security company Verisign Inc. (VRSN) plunged 15-5/8 to 131-1/16 after the company was downgraded from “outperform” to “neutral” by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter’s Mary Meeker.

Investors continued to be kind to Internet IPOs Friday. Launch Media (LAUN) rose 6-3/8 to 28-3/8 on its first day of trading. The online music site sold 3.4 million shares at $22 each on Thursday, netting it $74.8 million and giving the company a market cap of $264.8 million.

Net Perceptions Inc. (NETP) soared 15-3/16 to 29-13/16 on its first day of trading. The Internet advertising company sold 3.7 million shares at $14 Thursday, raising $51.1 million.


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