Takeover Rumors Dominate Internet Sector

Takeover speculation was guiding Internet stocks Wednesday, benefitting shares of EarthLink Network Inc. and Beyond.com Corp.

Just before noon, internet.com’s Internet Stock Index was up 2.58, or .51 percent, to 507.80, the Nasdaq Composite was off 2.78 to 2,577.48 and the Dow Jones industrial average had shed 53.50 to 10,668.13.

Earthlink (ELNK) was up 4-1/2 to 61-3/4 amid continuing reports that Gateway Inc. is considering buying the Internet service provider. Both companies have refused to comment on the speculation, which caused EarthLink shares to climb 20 percent Tuesday.

Online software store Beyond.com Corp. (BYND) jumped 5 to 30-5/8. Rumors emerged Wednesday that Amazon.com (AMZN) may buy the company.

CMGI Inc. (CMGI) was up 1-3/8 to 96-5/16. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday the company may buy Compaq Computer Corp.’s Internet assets for $2 billion to $3 billion. Those include the AltaVista search engine as well as e-commerce site Shopping.com and local directory Zip2.

Shares of AboveNet (ABOV) gained 3-11/16 to 40-7/16. The company Wednesday was purchased by Metromedia Fiber Networks in a $2 billion stock deal.

Internet America Inc. (GEEK) jumped 2 to 19-1/8 after receiving a “buy” rating from Scott & Stringfellow.

Other strong gainers included Juno Online Services (JWEB) up 1-5/16 to 18-1/4 and Exodus Communications (EXDS) up 3-1/8 to 92-3/8.

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