IPOs Take Spotlight On Down Day

Internet IPOs grabbed all the attention Thursday in what was otherwise a dull session on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones industrial averge ended off 20.65 to 10,866.74, the Nasdaq Composite turned negative late in the day to lose 34.99 to 2,542.41 and Internet.com’s Internet Stock Index ended off 23.49, or 4.05 percent, to 556.56.

Healtheon Corp. (HLTH) soared 20-3/8 to 100-5/8 afer being as high as 126-3/16. The company Thursday confirmed it would merge with privately-held WebMD Inc. in a deal that will create one of the largest Internet-based health care companies. A number of technology heavyweights are investing in the venture, including Microsoft Corp. which will provide $250 million.

News of the merger helped other companies with Healtheon ties. Premiere Technologies (PTEK) climbed 1-5/8 to 17-15/16 after being as high as 20-7/8. The voice mail, e-mail and faxing company is a substantial WebMD shareholder.

eToys (ETYS) soared 56-9/16 to 76-9/16. The Internet toy retailer Wednesday sold 8.3 million shares at $20 each.

CAIS Internet (CAIS), the day’s other Internet IPO, turned in a decent performance but failed to make a big splash. Shares closed up 3-1/8 to 22-1/8. The company sold 6 million shares at $19 Wednesday, raising $114 million.

One of the day’s few winners was CNET Inc. (CNET). The Web publisher rose 6-1/16 to 125-3/4 after Nasdaq officials announced CNET would be added to the Nasdaq 100 Index.

CNET joins Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) as the only Web publisher in the index.

America Online Inc. (AOL) lost 5-3/8 to 129-1/8, despite receiving a positive reception from analysts at a meeting in Washington, D.C. this week.

Morgan Stanley Internet analyst Mary Meeker said the meeting was the company’s most positive ever and said AOL was “firing on all cylinders.” Bruce Smith, Internet analyst at Jefferies & Co. reiterated his “buy” rating and set a $175 price target.

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) dropped 8-3/4 to 130-13/16. This week, the company said it will increase its marketing efforts and filed to raise $2 billion through an offering of several types of securities.

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