Net Sector Climbs Despite Profit-Taking in Some B2Bs

The broad selloff that many analysts predicted isn't materializing. Meanwhile, investors aren't cheering a merger of USWeb/CKS and Whittman-Hart.
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Many market analysts continue to forecast a selloff among technology and Internet issues sometime soon. And while many stocks have seen profit-taking today, there hasn't been a full-scale setback to suggest that investors were bailing just yet.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was up 22.04, or 2.0%, at 1151.54 in recent trading. Though many of the red-hot business-to-business plays were seeing profit-taking after some tremendous run-ups, our own

James Cramer

indicated he saw losses in the

B2B plays as a buying

opportunity.

Investors were not responding positively to

news that Internet consulting firm

USWeb/CKS

(USWB)

would merge with

Whittman-Hart

(WHIT)

. USWeb was off 3 5/8, or 7%, at 47 1/4 on the news, after trading as high as 58 1/2 and as low as 43 1/16. Whittman-Hart was recently trading down 21 3/8, or 27%, at 57 7/8. Investors were still attempting to determine what the deal means to them. Following the announcement,

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

cut its rating on USWeb to market perform from buy. DLJ also cut Whittman's rating to market perform from buy.

Under terms of the agreement, each outstanding share of USWeb/CKS will be exchanged for 0.865 share of Whittman-Hart stock. After the merger, USWeb/CKS shareholders will own approximately 57% of the combined company, and Whittman-Hart shareholders will own approximately 43%. Based on Whittman-Hart's closing price Friday, and based on the exchange ratio, the combined company would have a market capitalization of approximately $14 billion, on a fully diluted basis.

Also taking a breather were last week's darlings, those companies associated with the

Linux

operating system.

Red Hat

(RHAT)

was off 21 3/16, or 8%, at 251 7/8;

VA Linux

(LNUX)

was off 20, or 9.2%, at 198;

Andover.Net

(ANDN)

was off 11 7/8, or 18%, at 55 5/8; and

Inprise

(INPR)

was down 1 13/32, or 8%, at 15 9/32. However,

Corel

(CORL)

was up 2 9/16, or 8.4%, at 33 1/16.

Among other stocks in the news,

Net2Phone

(NTOP)

was up 7 7/8, or 15%, at 60 7/8. Net2Phone said today that it has signed an agreement with Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

to market Net2Phone's Internet telephony services through Qualcomm's Eudora email software. Net2Phone is scheduled to report fiscal first-quarter earnings after the close today, and according to

First Call/Thomson Financial

, it is expected to report a loss of 16 cents a share.

CheckFree Holdings

(CKFR)

was up 13 15/16, or 17%, at 96 1/16. Gains may have been in response to news that

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

launched

Yahoo! E-Bills

, a service that allows registered Yahoo! users to receive and view their bills online. Through an expanded relationship with CheckFree, Yahoo! E-Bills enables 37 CheckFree E-Billers to electronically deliver individuals' bills to their Yahoo! Bill Pay account.

Foundry Networks

(FDRY)

continued to be among the day's leading point-gainers, up 34 1/4, or 12.3%, at 312 in recent trading after it said Friday that it would split its stock 2-for-1.

And who can blame investors for buying Foundry?

Internet Capital Group

(ICGE)

, which split 2-for-1 Friday, was up 26 1/2, or 24%, at 139 today in its first day of trading post-split as traders saw opportunity to get in at a cheaper price.