Optimism Continues for Net Stocks

Internet stocks were looking to finish what they started Thursday as a number of the previous session’s biggest gainers continued to move higher in midday trading Friday. Also, an announcement of a 3-for-1 stock split from Dow component General Electric Co. was helping blue chips advance.

At noon Eastern, internet.com’s Internet Stock Index was up 5.56, or .68 percent, to 821.69, the Nasdaq Composite had climbed 38.06 to 3,753.14 while the Dow was up 63.61 to 11,308.81.

A positive close for the Nasdaq would set yet another record for the tech index. Nasdaq volume was extremely heavy at midday, setting the stage for what could be the exchange’s first 2-billion-share day.

Gainers included Ariba Inc. (ARBA), up 10-1/2 to 248. Shares were up 6 percent Thursday after the company announced it was buying Tradex Technologies for $1.86 billion.

Akamai Technologies Inc. (AKAM) had climbed 12-7/8 to 283-7/8 and CMGI Inc. (CMGI) had lost 3-3/4 to 217-13/16. The companies Friday signed a deal to develop applications intended to create and deliver dynamic content and

InfoSpace Corp. (INSP) had advanced 4-1/2 to 157 after gaining 11 percent Thursday.

Other leaders moving on the continued enthusiasm included Broadcom Corp. (BRCM), up 6-1/4 to 228-1/4, BroadVision Inc. (BVSN) up 7-1/16 to 138-3/4, Doubleclick Inc. (DCLK) up 3-3/16 to 193-1/2, Sportsline USA Inc. (SPLN) had jumped 3-1/4 to 58-3/4 and Verio Inc. (VRIO) had climbed 4-1/16 to 51-1/2.

VitaminShoppe.com (VSHP) had jumped 2 to 13-3/4 after the nutritional products retailer sealed a two-year deal with America Online Inc. VitaminShoppe will be a featured retailer on AOL.

America Online Inc. (AOL) was up 5/16 to 86-7/16 after announcing Friday that membership had passed the 20 million mark.

Headhunter.net Inc. (HHNT) had advanced 1-5/16 to 14-3/16. The Internet job site inked a deal with NBC Internet Inc. (NBCI) for promotion across the unit’s television, Web and radio properties.

Network chip maker PMC-Sierra (PMCS) had vaulted 4-15/16 to 121-15/16 after Salomon Smith Barney raised its rating to a “buy” from “outperform.”

American depositary receipts of Korea’s Thrunet (KOREA) had gained 1-3/8 to 73-3/8 after Lehman Brothers raised its near-term target by $30 to $130 a share after the South Korean ISP posted much better-than-expected third-quarter results.

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