Wireless Stocks Shine On Street

In a year that so far has seen a huge drop in Internet company valuations and stock prices, wireless shares have been among the most popular on Wall Street.

Item 1: With only days left in the first two quarters of trading, two wireless Internet stocks are on the short list of biggest gainers for the year to date.

Information and transaction services provider Aether Systems
is up 176 percent through Tuesday’s trading, when it closed at $196 per share. Out of nearly 400 public Internet companies, only GenesisIntermedia.com – a small-capper ($87 million) which sells Internet kiosks for malls – has a higher YTD gain (181 percent) than AETH.

In third place for the year is Datalink.net, a content services and software vendor whose stock had advanced 138 percent through Tuesday.

Item 2: The top gainers in trading over the past month (going back to the May 26 market close) are wireless content provider i3 Mobile and wireless ISP GoAmerica, which are up 229 percent and 179 percent respectively.
And four other wireless stocks have climbed at least 50 percent in the past month, putting them in the top quarter of Internet ticker gainers for that period.

Given that there are only 14 companies listed in the Wireless Products/Services sector being unveiled this Friday in internet.com’s Internet StockTracker weekly newsletter, the above numbers are pretty impressive.

Impressive, though not surprising, for wireless Internet access and services are riding a wave of hype and attention comparable to last year’s market infatuation with Linux.

Still, even hype only takes you so far in a bear market, and wireless stocks did not escape the market meltdown that began in March. In fact, all 10 wireless Internet stocks that were trading when the freefall began are down over the past three months:

AETH	Aether Systems:	-23.0%

INSP InfoSpace: -33.6%

PALM Palm: -51.5%

MCOM Metricom: -53.5%

GWRX Geoworks: -59.0%

PHCM Phone.com: -60.3%

PUMA Puma Technology:-61.0%

IWAV interWAVE: -65.9%

DLK Datalink.net: -67.7%

SVNX 724 Solutions: -73.1%

Likewise, the four wireless Internet IPOs hitting the street in Q2 did not escape the chill that has frozen the ‘Net public offering market since April. Here are their first-day performances, relative to each stock’s offer price:

IIIM	i3 Mobile, April 6:	        56%

GOAM GoAmerica, April 7: 0%

PRTH Parthus Technologies, May 19: 65%

HAND Handspring, June 21: 35%

Collectively, the four wireless IPOs above averaged a first-day gain of 39 percent, not much better than the first-day average gains for all ‘Net stocks in April (31 percent) and May (38 percent).

In addition to creating a wireless sector for the Internet StockTracker weekly newsletter, I will focus in coming weeks on many of the individual companies mentioned above in StockTracker Daily as the wireless wars heat up.

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