Tame PPI Report Sends Stocks Soaring

A lower-than-expected rise in prices paid to producers, farmers and factories in July sent stocks soaring in midday trading Friday.

The Labor Department reported the producer price index rose 0.2 percent last month, up from a 0.1 percent decline in June. The PPI core rate, which excludes volatile food and energy sectors, was unchanged after a 0.2 percent decline in June. That led stocks to surge as analysts were expecting larger increases.

Just before noon, internet.com’s Internet Stock Index had soared 20.18, or 4.69 percent, to 450.85, the Nasdaq Composite was up 70.10 to 2,619.59 and the Dow Jones industrial average had vaulted 154.82 to 10,944.21.

Among the Internet stocks trading higher on the news was America Online Inc. (AOL) up 4 to 96-3/4, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) had climbed 4-7/16 to 96-3/16, CMGI Inc. (CMGI) up 5-5/16 to 82-1/4 and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) moved up 4-3/16 to 132-9/16.

Other climbers included eBay Inc. (EBAY) gaining 5-5/8 to 97, Exodus Communications Inc. (EXDS) jumping 7-5/16 to 67-3/4, Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR) added 7 to 204 and Real Networks Inc. (RNWK) was up 4-3/4 to 75-1/8.

Intuit Inc. (INTU) climbed 4-1/16 to 79-15/16. The financial software company Friday acquired SecureTax.com, a provider of Web-based tax services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Online brokers were also stronger. Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) was up 1-7/16 to 23-15/16, E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) up 1-9/16 to 25-15/16, National Discount Brokers Group Inc. (NDB) had gained 2-5/16 to 34-1/4 and Southwest Securities Group Inc., (SWS) parent of Mydiscountbroker.com, had added 3-3/16 to 36-3/4.

Finally, Linux software maker Red Hat Inc. (RHAT) continued its strong climb. Shares had gained 12-1/8 to 84-3/4 in their third day of trading.

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