Net Stocks Lag Blue Chip Despite Upbeat Earnings

Better-than-expected earnings from several Internet plays was unable to keep the sector above water in midday trading Thursday as blue chips were powering past technology stocks thanks in large part to an analyst upgrade of General Motors.

At noon Eastern,’s Internet Stock Index was off 15.75 to 700.81, the Nasdaq Composite had fallen 58.09 to 3,586.87 and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 36.24 to 10,805.98.

A number of sector leaders were taking it on the chin, including Ariba Inc. , down 3-11/16 to 63-9/16, Concentric Network Corp. , off 2-5/16 to 36-5/8, eToys Inc. , down 9/16 to 6-13/16, Healtheon/WebMD , down 1-1/4 to 16-7/8, Net2Phone , off 2-1/16 to 35-5/16 and Ticketmaster/CitySearch , off 1-5/8 to 18.

Also taking a big hit was EarthLink Network Inc. , off 2-1/8 to 19-5/16. The company said its fiscal 2000 losses will climb to between $170 million and $215 million due to increased sales and marketing expenses.

Several stocks were turning in solid performances, including National Discount Brokers Group Inc. , up 4-5/8 to 29-1/8. Germany’s Deutsche Bank is purchasing up to another 19 percent in the online broker for $135.9 million.

Lycos Inc. was up 4-61/64 to 62-9/16. The search engine, which is being bought by Terra Networks SA, reported an operating profit of 7 cents a share in the quarter ended April 30. That was 2 cents higher than expectations. Inc. had gained 2-5/8 to 86-1/8. The company, whose software allows wireless phones to access the Internet, expects fourth-quarter sales to be higher than expected. It also expects to report a profit in the near future.

Covad Communications was up 2-1/2 to 26-1/2. The digital subscriber line provider expanded its offerings to Columbia and Dayton, Ohio. Up to 70,000 businesses and 669,000 residential users will get access to the service.

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