Net Stocks Advance Ahead of Rate Announcement

Internet stocks were trading higher at the midpoint of Wednesday’s session as investors were shrugging off the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will issue another quarter-point interest rate hike.

The announcement is expected around 2:15 p.m. Eastern.

At noon Eastern,’s Internet Stock Index was up 15.50, or 1.85 percent, to 851.44, the Nasdaq Composite had gained 36.11 to 4,088.09 and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 32.97 to 11,074.92.

Another key focus Wednesday will be the release of earnings from e-tail bellwether Inc. (AMZN), which was trading up 2-5/16 to 69-3/4. The company is reporting its fourth-quarter results after the market close. Analysts are expecting a 48-cent loss.

Movers included high-speed chip maker GlobeSpan Inc. (GSPN), soaring 45-7/8 to 168-1/4. The company reported much-better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and announced a 3-for-1 stock split. Inc. (INSP) was up 7-3/16 to 152-15/16. The company’s information look-up system will be integrated into Microsoft’s Office, enabling its users to easily obtain phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

EToys Inc. (ETYS) had gained 1-3/4 to 16-1/4. Robertson Stephens Wednesday raised its rating to “buy” from long-term “attractive.”

Portal Software Inc. (PRSF) had jumped 3-1/2 to 53-7/8. The company, which makes software for portable Net-enabled devices, announced plans to work with Motorola Inc. (MOT) to market IP-based wireless billing services.

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