DOT Index Closes Higher, but E-Commerce Stocks Lag
Investors did not rush into everything connected with the Internet today. But the stocks they liked, they liked a lot.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector index finished up 28.73, or 2.6%, at 1123.63. That was near the session high of 1129.73 made early in the session.
Yahoo! (YHOO) closed up 13 1/2, or 4%, at 341. There was no major news to account for the move. The stock likely was seeing interest from mutual funds looking to do some window dressing, along with speculation that with the stock trading over 300 it will eventually split. James Cramer took a look at the split game earlier today.CMGI (CMGI) ended up 21 13/16, or 11%, at 221 9/16 following a strong quarterly report and announcement of a stock split last night. The stock traded as high as 240. Network Solutions (NSOL) finished up 34 1/16, or 16%, at 248. The company said today that it was named to the Nasdaq 100 index effective with the market open on Monday, Dec. 20. Infatuation with B2B plays continued. Akamai (AKAM) closed up 40 5/8, or 18%, at 271. The company introduced its EdgeAdvantage product today, which it says will speed delivery of online applications. Phone.com (PHCM) closed up 20 1/16, or 17%, at 139 1/8. Credit Suisse First Boston put a note out on the company indicating that Phone.com management was expecting a strong quarter and was comfortable with analysts' projections. Credit Suisse First Boston, which did underwriting for Phone.com, reiterated a strong buy rating, noting that recent weakness in the stock represented a buying opportunity. And FreeMarkets (FMKT), which does online auctions for businesses, closed up 43 1/8, or 19%, at 265 1/2 after trading lower the past three sessions. Online retailers took it on the chin today. TheStreet.com E-commerce index finished down 1.16, or 0.9% at 125.62. Some e-tailers were probably not helped by a survey released by PC Data. The report of 2,990 home Web users showed that toysrus.com, the online division of bricks-and-mortar retailer Toys R Us (TOY), was the toy site of choice for 18% of online toy shoppers, edging out eToys (ETYS) which was preferred by 14%. Amazon.com (AMZN) followed with 11%, while walmart.com was preferred by 7%. A majority (36%) indicated they had no preference. The study also disclosed that despite record online toy sales during the holiday season, participants said they expect to purchase toys in significantly larger quantities at bricks-and-mortar facilities than online sites. The study disclosed that respondents expected to spend 79% of their toy dollars from bricks-and-mortar stores, with only 14% online. In comparing online with store shopping, 63% said they see little price differential between the two. Twenty percent said they perceive Internet prices to be higher, while 17% said they perceive them to be lower. "Toysrus.com's top ranking in our study suggests that its brand recognition helped it overcome some of the criticism it drew when it first released a Web site earlier this year," said Sean Wargo, Internet market analyst for PC Data Online. "But as etoys.com develops a brand identity of its own, and with amazon.com and walmart.com scoring well, this market is clearly becoming more competitive." Toys R Us ended up 7/16, or 3%, at 15 9/16. eToys finished down 2 1/8, or 5%, at 39 15/16, while Amazon finished off 1 5/8, or 1.7%, at 94 7/8. One online retailer that exploded today was Micro Warehouse (MWHS), an online seller of personal computers and software. The stock closed up 3 1/16, or 25%, at 15 3/16. There were rumors that the company was going to announce an alliance with a major Internet company.
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