Holiday Spirits Sag in Net Sector

Lighter trading sees Juno tumble on stock-split news as Amazon falls prey to rumor.
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Internet investors received their Christmas presents long before today, so it only figured that they would make their returns earlier as well. Net stocks closed mostly lower as traders lightened up ahead of the long holiday weekend.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index ended the shortened holiday week down 19.58, or 1.7%, at 1128.52. There were some rumblings that today could be the start of a protracted profit-taking move among Net stocks, though the sector has shown unbelievable resiliency of late.

A couple of stocks fell prey to rumors and speculation.

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

closed down 7 11/16, or 8%, at 90. There was a rumor that a major brokerage house was preparing a note indicating that fourth-quarter margins at Amazon could be terrible, though there was no confirmation to the rumor.

The rumors may have stemmed from last week's

Barron's

interview with

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

analyst Mary Meeker in which she was asked whether Amazon's infrastructure could handle all the sales volume this quarter. Her response is beginning to grab the market's attention now that all of the euphoria seen in the Net sector earlier this week has subsided.

Meeker said:

I believe the fourth quarter of this year will be the most inefficient quarter and probably the most trying quarter in the history of the company. And the amount of money they are going to waste just to get gifts to people's houses on time is going to be a very large number. They will also be tested to prove that their inventory doesn't get out of control. And they will have to demonstrate how the business is going to get more efficient. And how it will ultimately become cash flow positive.

Also,

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get Report

finished down 19 3/4, or 13%, at 133 9/16 as traders picked up on a story from

InternetNews.com

indicating that

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

could be dropping support for RealNetworks'

RealAudio

and moving to

Microsoft's

(MSFT) - Get Report

Windows Media

format.

One of the week's best performers,

Juno Online

(JWEB)

fell back to earth with a thud after the Internet service provider said it was planning a secondary stock

offering. Juno had gained close to 275% in the past two sessions following its plans to offer free Internet access to customers that agreed to view advertisements. The stock closed down 15 1/16, or 25%, at 46 3/16.

Among stocks on the rise,

Inktomi

(INKT)

closed up 15, or 8.5%, at 191 1/2 after

Merrill Lynch

analyst Henry Blodget

upgraded his near-term rating on the stock to accumulate from neutral, just two months after

downgrading it.

And while many stocks that have run up of late came under pressure, other highfliers continued their journeys.

Commerce One

(CMRC)

tacked on another 48 points, or 8.7%, at 598. The Internet procurement company has become the favorite

B2B play even with its high price tag. Its stock splits 3-for-1 as of the close today.

Other hot B2B gainers included

Silknet Software

(SILK) - Get Report

, up 13, or 10%, at 138, and

Ariba

(ARBA)

, which finished up 21 1/8, or 15%, at 162. In case you missed it, check out

James Cramer's

supplemental B2B

draft and the B2B

picks of

TheStreet.com

technical analyst

Gary Smith

.