Online Brokers Lead Internet Stocks Higher

Internet stocks posted strong gains across the board Monday, helped in part by bullish comments about the online brokerage sector.

The Nasdaq Composite surged 60.36 to 2,553.73, setting a new record and’s Internet Stock Index climbed 30.61, or 5.42 percent, to 591.86. The Dow Jones industrial average once again climbed above the 10,000 mark, closing up 174.80 to a record 10,007.30.

Bill Burnham, who follows the Internet brokerage sector for Credit Suisse First Boston, said Monday he expects many Internet brokers to beat first-quarter earnings expectations. That prompted a big upward march that sent Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) soaring 29-1/16 to 91-5/8, E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) climbed 11-3/4 to 72-5/8, National Discount Brokers Group Inc. (NDB) rose 4-9/16 to 32.

Conventional brokerages with an online presence also benefitted, sending Siebert Financial Corp. (SIEB) up 4-11/16 to 28-/18 and Charles Schwab Corp. (SCH) up 9-1/8 to 103-3/8.

Online bank [email protected] Inc. (NTBK) soared 25-11/16 to 101-11/16 after the Internet-only bank reported opening 8,000 new accounts in the first quarter. The company attributed the strong growth to a new advertising campaign.

That news helped send shares of Security First Technologies Corp. (SONE) up 9-1/4 to 90-3/8. The company, which once operated an Internet bank, now concentrates solely on developing and marketing technology and services that enable financial institutions to offer banking services over the Internet. Inc. (AMZN) gained 15-1/2 to 186-1/2 after announcing it had settled a lawsuit with retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Shares of Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) soared 39-3/8 to 219-1/8 and the stock of merger partner Inc. (BCST) climbed 27 to 157.

Other strong Internet gainers included Inc. (MKTW), up 17-3/8 to 90-7/8, InterVU Inc. (ITVU) which jumped 11-1/2 to 71 and CMGI Inc. (CMGI) which added 28-11/16 to 216.

One of the day’s biggest percentage gainers was GCST Corp. (GCCT) which soared 8-1/32 to 14-1/32. The Internet shopping mall operator Monday announced plans to add online auctions later this month.

Online auctioneer Onsale Inc. (ONSL) gained 2-9/16 to 35-5/16 after trading as high as 36. Steve Weinstein at Pacific Crest Securities raised his rating on the stock to “buy” from “market perform.”

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