Internets Rebound on Economic News

Internet and technology shares were leading the way in midday trading Thursday, buoyed by news that retail sales surged at the fastest rate since 1984 while inflation remains in check.

At 12:30 p.m. Eastern,’s Internet Stock Index had climbed 10.59, or 1.34 percent, to 801.22, the Nasdaq Composite was up 26.67 to 3,876.69 and the Dow Jones industrial average had moved up 14.89 to 11,505.99

Retail sales rose 8.9 percent in 1999 — the highest level since a 10 percent gain was recorded 15 years ago. Meanwhile, the producer price index rose 0.3 percent last month, or 0.1 percent excluding food and energy. For the year, the PPI rose only 0.9 percent, substantially off 1998’s climb of 2.5 percent.

That news was helping send Internet leaders higher, including Ariba Inc. (ARBA) which had gained 4-1/8 to 177, CMGI Inc. (CMGI) was up 3-7/32 to 126-7/32, eBay Inc. (EBAY) had climbed 2 to 132-3/8 and Inc. (GOTO) was up 4-1/2 to 67-1/4.

Also gaining ground were Inktomi Corp. (INKT) up 6-1/32 to 93-11/32, Lycos Inc. (LCOS) had climbed 3-5/16 to 73-1/4, Inc. (MPPP) had gained 2-11/16 to 35-3/8, Network Solutions Inc. (NSOL) was up 4-9/16 to 225-3/8 and Verisign Inc. (VRSN) had moved up 7-15/32 to 167-7/8.

Real Networks Inc. (RNWK) had jumped 15-1/8 to 141-3/8 after Deutsche Bank initiated coverage with a “strong buy” rating and set a $250 price target.

Commerce One (CMRC) was up 10-7/8 to 167-7/16. The company and Royal Dutsch/Shell Group plan to create an online marketplace for the energy industry.

Cobalt Group Inc. (CBLT) had gained 2-3/4 to 21-9/16. The company, which provides Internet services to the auto industry, sealed a deal with [email protected] Corp. (ATHM) to integrate new car listings in the Excite portal.

Netzero Inc. (NZRO) was up 3-15/16 to 28-7/8 on news General Motors Corp. will announce a marketing agreement with the free ISP. Inc. (SQST) had jumped 7-3/4 to 63-3/4 after the Internet-based retailer of lab equipment sealed several new contracts.

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