Investors Shift Focus to Blue Chips

Internet and technology shares were slumping in midday trading Monday as investors were taking a new look at recently-battered blue chip stocks.

At 11:45 a.m. Eastern,’s Internet Stock Index had fallen 29.09, or 3 percent, to 946.54, the Nasdaq Composite had lost 109.45 to 4,481.05 and the Dow Jones industrial average had jumped 104.86 to 9,966.98.

Stocks making news included Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), down 12-11/16 to 152-1/2. Reports emerged over the weekend that the portal has held talks with Australia’s News Corp. (NWS) about a possible alliance.

eBay Inc. (EBAY) had fallen 4-7/16 to 146-3/8. A London newspaper reported Monday eBay is in talks to buy Sotheby’s Holdings (BID) for $1.6 billion. EBay officials denied the published report.

America Online Inc. (AOL) was up 7/8 to 60-1/2. The online giant Monday announced a number of strategic agreements with wireless players to deliver its content to a variety of Internet-ready devices including cellular phones.

LookSmart (LOOK) was up 1-5/16 to 43. U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray initiated coverage of the search engine Monday with a “strong buy” rating, setting a $94, 12-month price target.

Online brokers were getting a small boost from positive comments issued Monday by Chase Hambrecht & Quist. E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) was up 7/8 to 23-1/8. The brokerage said E*Trade’s rapid account growth is propelling it to one of its best quarters ever. Chase set a $40 price target.

Charles Schwab (SCH) was up 3/8 to 38-1/4. Chase increased its first-quarter estimate by 4 cents to 23 cents a share. Chase said the company continues to benefit from increased trading activity.

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