Internets Do About Face

Internet stocks staged a late-day turnaround as investors finally heeded the advice of several leading analysts who for the past several days have been saying the selloff in the sector was overdone.’s Internet Stock Index inched up .49, or .10 percent, to 484.31, the Nasdaq Composite gained 20.37 to 2,432.40 and the Dow Jones industrial average lost 18.37 to 10,577.89.

Among the familiar names staging a turnaround were Inc. (AMZN) which gained 6-5/16 to 112-1/8 after being as low as 97-1/8. Investors started the day selling the shares in reaction to a Barron’s report which predicted the company will face an uphill battle as the number of competitors grows.

Yahoo! (YHOO) shares closed up 4-5/16 to 142-1/2, reversing a loss of more than 15 points earlier in the session. The company Wednesday acquired Online Anywhere which specializes in Internet solutions for Internet appliances.

Critical Path Inc. (CPTH) added 1-5/16 to 50-3/4. The business-to-business e-mail company acquired Fabrik Connect, the e-mail outsourcing business of Fabrik Communications Inc. The company also raised $172.81 million in a secondary offering, two months after going public. That was the shortest span between initial and secondary offerings.

Losers included AdForce Inc. (ADFC) which plunged 7-3/8 to 21-9/16. The company’s shares were reeling from the announcement that the Web advertising company had lost GeoCities, one of its largest clients. Yahoo!, which closed its purchase of GeoCities last week, plans to manage GeoCities ads on its own system.

Shares of Marimba Inc. (MRBA) dove 11-3/8 to 46. The company, whose software allows software updates to be distributed over the Internet, fell after Charles Philips of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter initiated coverage with a “neutral” rating.

Several Internet brokers continued to trade lower on concern that Merrill Lynch’s plans to get into the business will result in a price war, eroding profits in the sector. DLJdirect (DIR) lost 5-1/8 to 33-5/8 and E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) lost 1-1/16 to 38-1/4.

Ameritrade also announced a 3-for-1 stock split on Wednesday.

Charles Schwab Corp. (SCH) lost 3-3/8 to 96-1/8 on news that it had agreed to form a full-service brokerage with Tokio Marine and Fire Insurance Co., Japan’s largest casualty insurer.

Shares of PSINet Inc. (PSIX) fell 1-1/2 to 42 on news that it acquired The Internet Co., a Switzerland-based Internet provider. (BNBN) shed 2-13/16 to 17-3/16 after parent Barnes and Noble Inc. backed out of a $600 million deal to purchase Ingram Book Group for $600 million over regulatory concerns.

Banyan Systems Inc. (BNYN) jumped 1-1/16 to 11-5/8, benefiting from CBS Corp.’s decision to purchase a 35 percent stake in its Switchboard Inc. online directory.

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