Nasdaq Briefly Crosses 4,000 Milestone

Investors were eagerly snapping up shares of business-to-business Internet and infrastructure plays in midday trading as all sectors of the market were moving strongly higher. The Nasdaq Composite briefly crossed the 4,000 milestone before settling lower.

At 12:30 p.m. Eastern,’s Internet Stock Index had gained 3.20, or .37 percent, to 875.54, the Nasdaq Composite had jumped 59.39 to 3,996.69 and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 194.51 to 11,398.11.

Strong gainers included B2B plays Ariba Inc. (ARBA) up 18-11/16 to 159-9/16 and Broadvision Corp. (BVSN) up 10-3/4 to 153-3/4.

Also moving higher was Inktomi Corp. (INKT) up 17 to 193-1/2. Merrill Lynch’s Henry Blodget Thursday raised his rating to near-term “accumulate” from near-term “neutral.” He also raised the price target to $225. (AHWY) had climbed 1-1/4 to 11-1/16. The company, which provides audio programming over the Internet, added voice mail and long-distance telephone services Thursday.

Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (BRCD) was up 5-29/32 to 157. The maker of networking equipment was rated a “buy” by Bear Stearns & Co. who initiated coverage Thursday.

One stock losing ground was Juno Online Services (JWEB). Shares had slumped 11-13/16 to 49-7/16 on news the company plans an additional stock offering. The number of shares to be floated will be announced in January. The stock had been on a tear earlier this week after Juno added free Internet access to its product line.

U.S. markets will be closed on Friday in observance of the Christmas holiday and Thursday’s bond trading will end at 2 p.m.

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