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Yesterday's late rally has spilled over into a strong opening today. But don't expect sellers to give up quite yet. Internet Sector

index was up 8.54, or 0.75%, at 1143.82 midmorning. New Tech 30 was up a strong 15.85, or 2.3%, at 704.93.

A couple of mergers and partnerships were moving stocks.

CheckFree Holdings


was up 44 13/16, or 66%, at 113 1/16 on news that the online billing services provider would be buying


, an electronic billing and payment service, for $1 billion in stock. TransPoint is a joint venture between


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First Data

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Analyst Thomas O'Halloran applauded the deal, writing in a note that the merger was "a big win for CheckFree as it makes the combined company the clear leader in the market." He added that strong corporate sponsorship by Microsoft, First Data and Citibank would "help to accelerate consumer and biller adoption" of electronic billing presentment and payment.


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was up 26 1/8, or 12%, at 248 5/8 after the company said that it was in an alliance to deploy its services within

America Online's



Ask Jeeves


was down 4 1/8, or 5%, at 78 3/8 after the question-and-answer portal said it filed for a $150 million stock offering. The company said $100 million would be sold by the company, while $50 million will come from shareholders.

Earnings season was refusing to end. A couple of companies that reported last night were on the move today.



was up 4 3/4, or 7%, at 73 7/8 after reporting earnings of 3 cents a share for its fiscal second quarter vs. the 1-cent estimate from

First Call/Thomson Financial

. The company's revenue in the second quarter from advertising and e-commerce more than doubled to $68.6 million from $31.1 million a year earlier. After seeing the numbers,

Merrill Lynch

upped its near-term rating on Lycos to buy from accumulate.

But before you rush out and buy Lycos based on solid earnings, make sure you revisit


, which ran up sharply early in the day yesterday to a high of 102 after beating earnings estimates, only to end the day at 83. Today was down 4 1/4, or 5%, at 78 3/4, illustrating how traders buy into an earnings report, wait for the postearnings pop, then dump.


was up 1/8, or 1%, at 13 after posting a smaller-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter. Its 65-cent loss bested the First Call estimate by 3 cents.



was down 5 7/8, or 11%, at 46 after its quarterly report, though losses were likely due to the announcement that the company's CFO, Larry Begley, had resigned for personal reasons. The e-business consultant posted earnings of 6 cents a share for its fourth quarter vs. the 5-cent estimate from First Call.



was up 13 1/4, or 11%, at 132 3/4 after a number of firms initiated coverage of the provider of business-to-business electronic commerce services.

Prudential Securities


Credit Suisse First Boston

initiated coverage with strong buy ratings.

Bear Stearns

initiated coverage with a buy rating, but made the stock its No. 1 pick in the Internet B2B space. All three companies have done underwriting for PurchasePro.