Watching Grass Grow

Broader markets eased off of yesterday’s roaring climb, settling into a
sideways trading range through most of the day. The NYSE dipped 4.80 to
10,522.33, despite pockets of strength in consumer cyclicals, while the
Nasdaq slumped 58.50 to 3,400.98 on signs of weakness throughout tech
stocks and Internets. And following Tuesday’s raucous gains, the ISDEX shed
2.60%.


Britain’s largest ISP continued to soar on takeover speculation. Following
impressive gains yesterday, Freeserve jumped
another 6-1/2 to 78-1/2, after the company’s parent, Dixons,
indicated it is entertaining offers from buyers that include Spanish ISP
Terra Networks . A deal is expected to
materialize sometime next week.


Network Solutions jumped 1-13/16 to 147-13/16,
after the domain registrar announced plans to gift over 300 domain names,
and discount thousands more to the Chinese government following last week’s
House bill approval of normalizing trade relations with China.


Shares of StarMedia Network marched 1-11/16 to
17-15/16, after Credit Suisse First Boston initiated coverage of the Latin
Web portal with a “buy” rating, with a 12-month price target of $29. This
comes on the heels of ancillary competitor quepasa.com’s struggle to raise funding to remain a going concern.


Fatbrain.com executives were busy trying to
boost their sagging stock, announcing it will deliver quarterly results
ahead of Wall Street expectations next week. Shares of the online
bookseller tacked on 1-5/16 to 6-9/16.


Shares of HotJobs.com leapt 1-1/2 to 11-9/16
following news that Paine Webber upped its rating on the online recruiting
Web site from “neutral” to a “buy,” with a 12-month price target of $15.
Rivals failed to climb in sympathy, as shares of Careerbuilder
remained unchanged at its 52-week low of 2-5/16.


Ask Jeeves tumbled 1-5/8 to 20 after the company
reported its CEO Ted Briscoe is jumping ship for privately-held Play
Streaming Media
. Briscoe is expected to stay on with the
question-and-answer search engine through the second quarter to afford a
smooth transition for new management.


Shares of DSL.net sank 3/16 to 6-5/16, after the
business ISP announced plans to expand its customer offerings to include
application hosting and server co-location services through its latest
acquisition of B2B ISP solutions firm VISI.com, based in
Minneapolis. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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