Technology Shares Steam Past Blue Chips

Friday proved to be another winning session for Internet and technology stocks. Blue chips weren’t as lucky, suffering a slight pullback after being up almost 100 points at midday.’s Internet Stock Index climbed 23.61, or 2.33 percent, to 1,035.21 and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 80.81 to 4,798.29 while the Dow Jones industrial average shed 28.85 to 10,601.75.

The day’s two Internet IPOs both had very successful debuts. Netpliance Inc. (NPLI) gained 4-1/16 to 22-1/16. The maker of set-top boxes for Internet access sold 8 million shares at $18, raising $144 million.

Universal Access Inc. (UAXS) soared 23 to 37. The company, which provides network services to ISPs, sold 11 million shares at $14, raising $154 million.

Net stocks got off on the right foot from the beginning, thanks in part to welcome economic news. The government reported Friday the nation’s consumer price index rose 0.5 percent in February. Excluding food and energy prices, which have been dramatically affected by the rising cost of oil, the rate climbed only 0.2 percent. Analysts had expected a rise of 0.4 percent in the overall CPI and an 0.2 percent rise in the core rate. Economists said the numbers looked positive and believe the rise in fuel costs will prohibit an interest rates hike in the near future.

The news was benefitted a number of Internet plays, particularly the B2B success stories. Climbers included Broadcom Corp. (BRCM), up 4-3/4 to 217-9/16, Checkpoint Software (CHKP) jumped 14-7/8 to 234 and Concentric Network Corp. (CNCX) rose 4-1/16 to 53-15/16.

Other big gainers included Inktomi Corp. (INKT), up 30-9/16 to 231-5/8, Juniper Networks (JNPR) rose 12-15/16 to 249-15/16, Real Networks Inc. (RNWK) added 6-11/16 to 68-13/16 and Verio Inc. (VRIO) added 2-3/8 to 54-7/8.

Newsmakers included America Online Inc. (AOL), which gained 2-1/4 to 64-1/4. The company purchased Bertelsmann AG’s stake in AOL Europe and AOL Australia in a deal that could be worth up to $8.25 billion. Bertelsmann will use the money to build its e-commerce business. Corp. (CHINA) was up 2 to 112. The company is teaming with Softbank to create a $100 million joint venture that will offer consulting services to Internet companies targeting Asia.

Exodus Communications (EXDS) jumped 11-7/16 to 151-1/2. CS First Boston’s Tim Newington said the company is positioned to dominate the Web hosting market and is on target with its infrastructure expansions.

Lehman Brothers also reiterated its “buy” on the stock.

Broadvision Inc. (BVSN) closed up 3-3/16 to 76-1/2. CS First Bosto

n reiterated its “buy” on the stock.

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