Investors Return to Net Sector, a Little Wiser for the Wear

Buyers are favoring the most stable firms, including Inktomi and Juniper Networks.
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Have we learned anything over the past couple of weeks? The answer would have to be, yes.

We've learned that technology and Internet stocks can go down as well as up. We've learned that yes, valuations do matter on occasion and we've learned that the toughest phone call is not the one from the boss telling you he needs you to work all weekend, but that nasty broker making his

margin call. And hopefully, we've learned to take some profits on the way up, rather than trying to do it on the way down. It was a humbling experience, but hopefully served to make everyone stronger and smarter.

Tuesday's slide is ancient history now and the technology sector is back on the offensive, though investors are pouring into the more stable companies and those that could actually show a profit as we head toward the first quarter earnings season. But they were a little more cautious with those that were not leaders in their space, were burning through money at a rapid clip and those unable to justify ungodly valuations.

On to the numbers.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index closed up 37.59, or 3.7%, at 1053.02.

TheStreet.com New Tech 30 finished up 41.76, or 6.2%, at 718.04. Gains followed a non-threatening employment

report and beliefs that everything's back to normal in tech land, though note that volume was extremely light. The

Nasdaq

added 178.88, or 4.2%, to 4446.44.

Among the day's big gainers were a number of investor favorites.

Inktomi

(INKT)

closed up 25, or 16%, to 180 7/8;

Juniper Networks

(JNPR) - Get Report

ended up 28 3/8, or 12%, to 269 7/16;

Check Point Software

(CHKP) - Get Report

added 19 3/4, or 11% to 196 1/2; while

Phone.com

(PHCM)

soared 22 7/16, or 19%, to 140 1/4.

Verisign

(VRSN) - Get Report

/

Network Solutions

(NSOL)

continued to roll. Verisign, which is buying Network Solutions, closed up 21 7/32, or 14%, to 176 1/2, while Network Solutions added 20 1/8, or 12%, to 184 3/4.

Among the leading percentage movers,

Liquid Audio

(LQID)

added 6, or 46%, to 19. The audio software company will team with BMG Entertainment to sell digital music downloads through online retailers. And

724 Solutions

(SVNX)

pushed up 25 7/16, or 27%, to 121.

On the downside,

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

could not hold early gains and ended off 2 7/8, or 2%, at 151 1/8 after trading as high as 160. The stock has traded lower since reporting earnings after the close on Wednesday.

About.com

(BOUT) - Get Report

closed down 7 5/8, or 12%, at 56 3/8, though we saw no news to account for the move, though losses came on extremely light volume of around 285,000 shares.