Net Stocks Have Strong Finish

Internet stocks finished off the week strong after several analyst upgrades
and news that Microsoft will invest $100 million into business-to-business
leader, VerticalNet.

Internet stock investors were also focused on
high-speed access provider, Excite@Home, after a surpising report from
Robertson Stephens analyst, Michael Graham.’s Internet Stock Index was up 16.74, or 1.91 percent, to
894.62, the Nasdaq Composite gained 45.89 to 4235.40 and the Dow Jones
industrial average lost 99.59 to 11251.71.

Retek (RETK)
rose 4-1/16 to 71-5/16. Dain Rauscher Wessels initiated coverage with a
“buy” rating and $90 price target.

Inktomi Corp. (INKT)
gained 12-9/16 to 112-9/16. The Internet software maker reported a
first-quarter pro-forma loss of 2 cents a share, beating estimates of a
4-cent loss. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter raised its price target from $72.50
to $130.

eGain Communications (EGAN)
jumped 4-3/8. Prudential Volpe Technology initiated coverage of the email
management company with a “strong buy” rating and 12-month price target of

The star of the session was VerticalNet
, soaring 58-1/2 to 252-1/16 on news that Microsoft will invest $100 million
into the B2B portal as part of an electronic-commerce alliance.

Digital Island Inc. (ISLD)
matured 11-5/8 to 91-5/8. The network services firm Friday filed to sell an
additional 4.5 million shares in a secondary offering.

Excite@Home (ATHM)
fell 2-3/8 to 40-1/4. The cable Internet company reported a pro-forma
fourth-quarter profit of $514,000, or less than a penny per share. Also,
Excite@Home President George Bell was promoted to chief executive officer.

In a note issued Friday, Robertson Stephens analyst Michael Graham said
plans to offer Excite@Home through Digital Subscriber Line providers, along
with the implementation of a solid management team, should be beneficial for
the stock.

“We believe the two most important issues affecting the stock over the next
six months will be the resolution of the open-access debate and the first
signs of agreements with current cable partners for continued deals after
the exclusive period begins expiring in 2002. We expect the open-access
issue will effectively end in Portland by mid-February and that the result
will be favorable to AT&T. We expect that by year-end or sooner, we could
see the first hints of post-exclusivity deals with existing partners.

“In our view, both of these developments could help ATHM stock move back to
old highs near $100,” he said. Inc. (PHCM)
zoomed 14-7/8 higher to 140. The company reported fiscal second-quarter
revenue jumped seven-fold to $12.8 million.

E-commerce company (SPNW)
dropped 3-7/16 to 18-1/2, despite reporting better-than-expected results.
The company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $18.9 million, or 51 cents a
share, down from a loss of $16.8 million, or 65 cents a share, in the prior
quarter. Analysts had forecast a 72-cent loss.

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