Internet Stocks Lose Steam At Day’s End

After jumping early Wednesday following bullish comments from analysts, Internet stocks lost most of those gains late in the session.’s Internet Stock Index closed up 1.85, or .34 percent, to 545.39 while the Nasdaq Composite closed down 18.69 to 2,461.60, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 126.26 to 9,787.00.

The gains came after America Online Inc. (AOL) was reiterated a “strong buy” by Prudential Securities analyst Paul Merenbloom and Shaun Andrikopoulos of BT Alex. Brown. Also, Jamie Kiggen, technology analyst at Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette reiterated AOL as his top pick.

Jonathan Cohen, who recently became Wit Capital’s Internet analyst, initiated coverage of AOL with a “buy” rating and set a price target of $185 over the next 12 to 18 months. Inc. (AMZN) gained 7-1/2 to 172-3/16 as investors continued to be excited about its move into the person-to-person auction business.

Shares of Inc. (PCLN) jumped another 13-7/8 to 82-7/8. The company went public Tuesday, selling 10 million shares at $16 each, raising $160 million.

Internet security firm VeriSign Inc. (VRSN) leaped 19-3/8 to 154 after the company announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

Axent Technologies Inc. (AXNT) plummeted 8-7/16 to 24-1/16. The company on Wednesday acquired UK-based PassGo Technologies, paying about $50 million in stock. Prudential Securities also cut its rating to “hold” from “accumulate.” Corp. (BYND) jumped 4 to 26-3/16 after the online software store completed its purchase former competitor

Finally, the appetite for Internet-related initial public offerings continued unabated Wednesday. ZDNet (ZDZ) skyrocketed 17-3/16 to end its first day at 36-3/16.

ZDNet is a tracking stock, designed to follow the performance of the Internet operations of technology publisher Ziff-Davis Inc. Investors in Ziff-Davis (ZD) didn’t appear to be too happy about the move, sending its shares plunging 7-1/2 to 21-1/2.

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