Online Brokers Move Ahead Following Pact

Shares of the largest online brokers were moving up in midday trading Monday after announcing plans to launch a new investment bank.

That news came as’s Internet Stock Index was up 14.10, or 2.23 percent, to 645.98, the Nasdaq Composite had climbed 10.10 to 3,231.25 and the Dow Jones industrial average had gained 13.15 to 10,782.47.

Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. (SCH) was up 1/4 to 43-1/8, TD Waterhouse parent Toronto Dominion Bank (TD) was up 11/16 to 24-3/8 and Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) had jumped 3-3/16 to 25-1/8.

The online brokers are teaming with venture capitalists Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Trident Capital and Benchmark Capital to launch an investment bank which has yet to be named. Expected to launch early next year, it will underwrite, manage and distribute equity offerings of Internet and technology firms.

AskJeeves Inc. (ASKJ) had rocketed 19-3/4 to 176-3/4. The search engine Monday bought Net Effect Systems Inc., a provider of Web-based live help services, for $280 million in stock.

Red Hat Inc. (RHAT) had jumped 6-13/16 to 108-5/8 after announcing plans to purchase privately-held Cygnus Software for $674 million in stock. Cygnus products include a royalty-free operating system targeting IP devices. (GOTO) was up 14-17/32 to 105-3/4. Late Friday, the company announced it had won a preliminary injunction stopping Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) from using the name on advertising for their joint venture. The judge found there was enough similarity between the names to cause confusion among consumers. Inc. (PCLN) had jumped 4-5/8 to 61-1/4 after launching a new service with Ford Motor Co. (F) that will allow Florida consumers to bid on new cars and light trucks.

Lycos Inc. (LCOS) had climbed 2-5/16 to 61-1/4. The search engine Monday launched Lycos Music, a new online music destination.

E-commerce software provider Ariba Inc. (ARBA) had rocketed 18-3/8 to 215 and InterWorld (INTW) had climbed 6-11/16 to 66-7/16. The two companies announced a marketing aimed at helping suppliers and buyers together using the Internet.

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