Investor Enthusiasm Goes Negative in Rough Session

Internet stocks took a dive Wednesday as the technology sector suffered another widespread sell-off and the blue chips gave back all their gains.’s Internet Stock Index plunged 22.48, or 5.26 percent, to 405.13 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 48.02 to 2,539.97 and the Dow Jones industrial average lost 2.54 to 10,674.77 after being up almost 90 points in mid-session. The Nasdaq has lost 11 percent from its highs of less than three months ago.

E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) lost 15/16 to 23-3/4. Frank Petrilli , who just over a week ago announced he was leaving TD Waterhouse to said Wednesday he had decided not to take the job and would remain with his current employer. He will resume his position of president and chief operating officer.

Elsewhere in the sector, DLJdirect (DIR) shed 1 to 17-5/8, National Discount Broker Group Inc. (NDB) fell 1-1/4 to 30-7/8 and Southwest Securities (SWS) dropped 2 to 35-7/8.

The famous names closed mostly lower as investors continued to shy away from the sector. Inc. (AMZN) dropped 6-7/16 to 88-7/16 and America Online Inc. (AOL) ended off 1-1/16 to 87-3.4.

AOL on Wednesday signed a $100 million marketing deal with The pair will launch co-branded Web sites in the coming months.

Ariba (ARBA) plunged 7-1/2 to 72, Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) fell 2-3/8 to 109-1/2, eBay Inc. (EBAY) plunged 8-5/8 to 75-3/4 and Inc. (PCLN) ended off 6-13/16 to 66-1/4.

Even better-than-expected earnings weren’t enough to turn Corp. (TGLO) into positive territory. Shares lost 1-1/2 to 11-3/8 even though the online community reported a pro-forma net loss of 27 cents a share, about 5 cents better than analysts were expecting.

On the IPO front Internet Initiative Japan Inc. (IIJI) jumped 8-5/8 to 31-5/16 to provide about the only green in the sector. Japan’s largest Internet provider sold 7.16 million American depositary receipts at $23 on Tuesday. Each ADR represents one share of stock.

Recent IPO Splitrock Services Inc. (SPLT) added 1-3/8 to 10-3/8. Guy Woodlief of Prudential Securities initiated coverage of Splitrock with a “buy” rating and set a price target of $18 over the next year.

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