Internet Credit Card Issuer NextCard Soars

Shares of Internet credit card issuer NextCard Inc. were Wednesday’s big winner, soaring after three leading sector analysts upgraded the stock.’s Internet Stock Index gained 6.88, or 1.38 percent, to 505.06 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 42.03 to 2,516.59. Interest rate worries continued to take a toll on the Dow Jones industrial average, sending it down 81.37 to 10,684.27.

Internet credit card issuer NextCard Inc. (NXCD) soared 7-3/4 to 44-1/4 after three analysts initiated coverage on the stock. Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette’s Jamie Kiggen and David Readerman of Thomas Weisel Partners started coverage with a “buy” and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray’s Stephen Franco rated the stock a “strong buy.”

The sector’s leaders benefitted from positive comments by Scott Ehrens, Internet analyst at Bear Stearns. Ehrens said given the sector’s 25 percent decline in the quarter, his firm is urging investors to stick with famous names, including Yahoo! Inc. and America Online Inc.

AOL (AOL) gained 1/4 to 110-5/8 and Yahoo! (YHOO) added 3-1/16 to 146-3/8. Yahoo! benefitted from a positive reception at a Deutsche Banc Alex Brown’s conference. The company told investors overseas revenue will climb to more than 10 percent of total revenues by the end of this year. Inc. (AMZN) turned things around late in the day to end up 2-7/16 to 114 after slumping as low as 109-3/4.

Shares of Inc. (ABTL) added 1-5/8 to 20-3/8. The company, which refers online car shoppers to dealerships, reached a deal with Yahoo! to offer vehicles on the Yahoo! Autos section.

Tuesday’s Internet IPOs ended mixed on Wednesday. Inc. (KOOP) continued to climb. Shares climbed 1 to 17-7/16 after almost doubling on their first day of trading. Backweb Technologies Ltd. (BWEB) didn’t have as good a day, slumping 2-1/16 to 17-5/8.

Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) shares tumbled 2-3/16 to 46-7/16 after rising 34 percent over the past two days. Shares benefitted earlier this week after Walt Disney Co. confirmed it was in negotiations to buy the remaining 57 percent of the search engine it doesn’t own.

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