Yahoo, eBay Lead Net Decline

Shares of Internet leaders Yahoo! Inc. and eBay Inc. were both trading lower at noon Wednesday following reports the two had discussed a possible alliance that could have eventually led to a merger.

At noon Eastern,’s Internet Stock Index was off 37.98, or 3.7 percent, to 987.82, the Nasdaq Composite had slid 82.44 to 4,624.19 and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 105.48 to 9,916.72.

Yahoo! (YHOO) was off 8-1/2 to 160-1/4 and eBay Inc. (EBAY) had fallen 9-1/4 to 201-3/4. Reports surfaced late Tuesday that the online auctioneer and eBay had held preliminary talks, although discussions on an alliance ended last week with no deal. Both companies refused to comment on the reports.

Elsewhere, it was another day of selling, with almost all leaders in the red. Big losers included Ariba Inc. (ARBA) down 11-15/16 to 269-1/8, Checkpoint Software (CHKP) plunging 21-7/8 to 225, CMGI Inc. (CMGI) was off 3-3/8 to 120-1/2, Exodus Communications (EXDS) had lost 6-1/4 to 145-1/16 and Inktomi Corp. (INKT) had shed 10-15/16 to 195-3/16.

Two ISDEX components had posted gains of more than one point. Net2Phone Inc. (NTOP) was up 1-9/16 to 57-9/16 and S1 Corp. (SONE) adding 3-1/16 to 99-1/8.

Network Solutions Inc. (NSOL), had lost 18-9/32 to 210-3/32. The domain registrar is being sued for $1.7 billion in a federal lawsuit filed recently in San Francisco. Eight plaintiffs allege the 1995 deal between the National Science Foundation and NSI was unconstitutional. That deal gave Network Solutions the right to charge $70 for a domain registration plus a $35 annual renewal fee.

FreeMarkets Inc. (FMKT) had lost 7-15/16 to 186-1/16. FreeMarkets Wednesday bought IMark, a privately-held business-to-business surplus marketplace for $340 million in stock.

Commerce One Inc. (CMRC) was off 10-7/8 to 214-3/8. The B2B e-commerce firm Wednesday signed a deal with Concert, the joint venture between British Telecom and AT&T, to offer a global B2B service. Commerce One also announced plans to establish a Chinese B2B portal with $40 million in initial backing from several Chinese businesses.

E.Piphany Inc. (EPNY) had plunged 39-3/32 to 209-27/32. The company, whose software analyzes Web site data, purchased Octane Software for $3.19 billion in stock.

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