ISDEX Staggers To Q1 Close

After last year’s market meltdown, investors — especially those holding fast-falling Internet stocks — hoped to start fresh this year.

While nobody was expecting a return to the bubble mentality that pushed ‘Net companies to absurd valuations, they likely weren’t counting on further deep losses so early in the new year. With just one trading day left in March,’s Internet Stock Index, or ISDEX, has dropped 44.8% from its Dec. 29 closing mark of 361.

On Thursday, the ISDEX dipped below 200 for the first time since November 1998, finishing at 199.31. Despite a four-day rally during the past week, the ISDEX is down 27.3% in March alone.

Only nine of the 50 ISDEX members are up in the first quarter (and five of these tickers are one bad day away from slipping into the red). This roughly mirrors the overall year-to-date performance of more than 350 Internet stocks across 13 sectors. On Monday we’ll look at Q1 results for each of these 13 groups.

The strongest ISDEX performer by far remains ISP EarthLink, which has climbed 132% since Dec. 29. The sole ISDEX stock to at least double YTD, EarthLink finished trading Thursday at $11.69.

Here’s the list of ISDEX gainers as Q1 winds down:

Ticker            Company           3/29 Close  Market Cap  YTD Gain

     EarthLink           $11.69        $1.5B     132%
     S1 Corp.             $7.03      $394.8M      34%
        AOL Time Warner     $40.75      $173.9B      17%       $22.44        $1.9B      11%          $14.13      $448.3M       7%
     TicketMaster         $8.81        $1.2B       5%
     eBay                $34.13        $9.1B       3%
     Net2Phone            $7.56      $469.0M       3%
     GoTo                 $7.50      $394.4M       3%

On the flip side of the index, 10 stocks have plummeted at least 70% since Dec. 29. They are:

Ticker            Company           3/29 Close  Market Cap  YTD Loss

     TIBCO Software       $8.13        $1.6B     -83%
     Wireless Facilities  $6.34      $272.8M     -82%
     InfoSpace            $2.16      $679.1M     -76% 
     VerticalNet          $1.66      $145.3M     -75%
     i2 Technologies     $13.94        $5.7B     -74%
     Research in Motion  $20.97        $1.5B     -74%
     Sycamore Networks    $9.91        $2.7B     -73%
     Razorfish            $0.44       $43.0M     -73%
     Palm                 $8.00        $4.5B     -72%
     CacheFlow            $4.75      $205.9M     -72%

One thing that jumps out right away is the large number of wireless-related companies at the bottom of the pack – Wireless Facilities, InfoSpace, Research in Motion and Palm. This reflects the effects of the current economic slowdown on demand for wireless handheld devices in the consumer market. Device makers Palm and Research in Motion plunged this week after Palm issued a revenue and earnings warning for the quarter, citing large inventories and lower consumer spending.

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