Several Net Stocks Stand Out in Quiet Session

Stocks were generally weak across the board in midday trading Wednesday, although a handful of Internet issues had posted solid gains thanks to a combination of deals and analyst upgrades.

Just before noon Eastern,’s Internet Stock Index had lost 0.35, or 0.05 percent, to 670.28, the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.20 to 3,296.72 and the Dow Jones industrial average had lost 21.11 to 10,911.22. Already by noon, the Nasdaq volume stood at more than 800 million shares putting it on course to set a volume record.

Gainers included CMGI Inc. (CMGI) which was up 20-1/16 to 123-13/16. Goldman Sachs & Co. initiated coverage with a “market outperform” rating. The brokerage also set a $150 price target. Inc. (PCLN) had leaped 8-1/4 to 77. The company signed deals with United Airlines (UAL), American Airlines (AMR) and US Airways Group (U).

Priceline said it will record a one-time, non-cash charge of $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter to pay for the deal.

Ariba Inc. (ARBA) had gained 2-7/8 to 219-1/2. The electronic software company announced a 2-for-1 stock split effective Dec. 17.

Flycast Communications Corp. (FCST) had leaped 10-3/16 to 56-13/16, just short of a 52-week high set earlier in the session. The Internet advertising company announced deals with a number of agencies and advertisers. Inc. (INSP) was up 1/4 to 83-3/4 after trading as high as 92. The company unveiled a new instant messaging service for wireless devices.

Terra Networks (TRRA), the first Spanish company to list on the Nasdaq, was having a solid debut. American depositary receipts were up 26-11/32 to 39-3/4. The company sold 38 million shares at $13.41 a share, raising $502 million. Terra offers voice, video and data services throughout Latin America and the United States.

The day wasn’t as lucky for Inc. (PHCM), off 8-3/16 to 135-1/8. The company, whose software allows wireless phones to access the Internet, announced plans to offer another 6.6 million shares at $135 each in a secondary offering that will raise $891 million.

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