Stocks Rally in Advance of Fed Meeting

Internet shares posted healthy gains Tuesday in advance of Wednesday’s decision on interest rates. Analysts say investors appeared to be buying on positive news since the markets have already absorbed the impact of higher interest rates.’s Internet Stock Index jumped 16.33, or 3.29 percent, to 522.27, the Nasdaq Composite gained 33.09 to 2,635.53 and the Dow Jones industrial average added 127.59 to 10,782.74

CMGI Inc. (CMGI) jumped 12-11/16 to 110-3/8. The company announced Tuesday it was paying $2.3 billion in stock for an 83 percent stake in AltaVista. Compaq will retain a 17 percent stake which will make it AltaVista’s second-largest shareholder. In addition to its flagship search engine, CMGI is also getting and local directory Zip2.

National Discount Broker Group Inc. (NDB) added 9-1/4 to 45-1/4 after Jim Marks of Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown initiated coverage with a “strong buy.”

That led others in the sector higher. Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) gained 8-5/16 to 92-7/16, E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) ended up 1-5/16 to 39-3/16 and DLJdirect (DIR) gained 1/2 to 26-15/16.

Investors embraced another Internet IPO Tuesday. E-Loan Inc. (EELN) skyrocketed 23 to 37 on its opening day. The company on Monday sold 3.5 million shares at $14, raising $49 million.

Online investment bank Wit Capital (WITC) jumped another 4-7/16 to 31-1/2. Wit shares have been on an incredible tear over the past week, in part because Wit was allocated a portion of Juniper Networks, last week’s hot Internet IPO.

Also, analysts Amy Butte and Scott Ehrens of Bear Stearns & Co. issued a “buy” rating, setting a 12-month price target of $51. Also, David Readerman of Thomas Weisel Partners also issued a “buy” rating.

The sector’s leaders were mixed with America Online Inc. (AOL) up 2-1/16 to 105-7/8, Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) up 3-1/2 to 160 and Inc. (AMZN) climbed 5-3/8 to 116-1/6.

Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) zoomed up 8-1/2 to 126-1/2. The maker of cable modem chips was reiterated a “market outperform” by Salomon Smith Barney. The firm set a $150 price target over the next 12 months.

CustomTracks Corp. (CUST) gained 4-9/16 to 54-1/8. The company, which is preparing an Internet payment system, received U.S. Commerce Department approval for its digital signature and encryption technology. Inc. (PCOR) jumped 6-3/8 to 37-7/8. The company, whose technology allows companies to sell computer products online inked a deal with Compaq Computer Corp. Compaq will provide the company with computers to sell to retailers and individuals over the Internet.

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