Stocks Continue Freefall

It was another brutal session for Internet shares Wednesday. Stocks fell across the board following new figures that show wage pressures are intensifying and labor shortages are constraining economic growth in certain regions of the nation, making it likely that interest rates will continue to head north.’s Internet Stock Index lost 11.51, or 1.55 percent, to 730.79, the Nasdaq Composite shed 78.14 to 3,707.31 and the Dow Jones industrial average dove 250.99 to 10,480.13.

One of the sessions biggest losers was S1 Corp. (SONE), which plunged 17-1/16 to 42-5/16. The company, which provides technology that enables financial institutions to offer services over the Internet, Wednesday posted a first-quarter loss of $1.49 a share compared to a loss of 13 cents a year ago. Also, Pacific Crest lowered its rating to “buy” from “strong buy.”

CDNow Inc. (CDNW) lost another 9/16 to 3-5/8. The online music retailer posted a net loss of 92 cents a share, 4 cents higher than expected. The company late Tuesday unveiled a new operating plan, promising to reduce expenses.

Newbridge Networks (NN), closed off 2-1/4 to 35-3/4. The network equipment maker expects to beat estimates for its fiscal fourth quarter. The company predicted pro-forma earnings will range from 20 to 25 cents, much higher than the 14 cents analysts have forecast.

Webmethods Inc. (WEBM) plunged 15-5/8 to 98-1/8. The maker of Internet integration software reported a fiscal fourth-quarter pro-forma loss of 21 cents a share, 6 cents better than expected.

TMP Worldwide (TMPW) lost 5-1/4 to 68. The operator of the online job site Wednesday posted first-quarter earnings of 15 cents a share, 3 cents better than expected.

Stocks ending in positive territory included Aether Systems Inc. (AETH), up 13 to 150. The maker of software which links handhelds to the Internet, announced a pact with Visa USA. The companies will develop bill payment systems capable of running on pagers, cell phones and wireless devices. (EMUS) jumped 17/32 to 2-21/32. The company reported a pro-forma loss of 37 cents a share in the quarter, 9 cents better than expected.

CAIS Internet (CAIS) gained 2-3/16 to 18-15/16. The company Wednesday sealed a deal with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to develop a co-branded portal that will distribute content over CAIS’ broadband network.

Global Crossing Ltd. (GBLX) closed up 1-1/2 to 34-1/8. The builder of fiber optic networks Wednesday reported a first-quarter loss of 39 cents a share, 4 cents better than expected. The company also expects 2000 revenues to be about $5.7 billion, driven by
strong growth in sales of data services.

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