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Losses in the


were helping to suck the life out of a buoyant technology sector. Internet Sector

index was down 21.22, or 1.8%, to 1146.26 after having traded as high as 1190.67. New Tech 30 was down 5.59, or 0.7%, to 772.41. Internet stocks were lagging behind some other areas of the Nasdaq, such as biotech and semiconductors, which have lately been hotter than Net.

Bucking the trend, a number of heretofore out-of-favor traditional Internet plays were seeing a little green.

America Online


, which surged yesterday following a positive research note from

Merrill Lynch

, was up another 1 1/16, or 1.8%, to 59 3/8, though it had traded as high as 62 today after

Credit Suisse First Boston

jumped on the bandwagon and upgraded AOL to strong buy from buy.

CS First Boston analyst Lise Buyer wrote that the combined AOL-

Time Warner

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entity should currently support a price between 88 and 97 when using management guidance of a $40 billion entity generating $10.5 billion to $11 billion EBITDA.


was another beaten-up Net stock that caught a wave, up 2 3/8, or 4.6%, to 54 1/4, though it had traded as high as 57 1/2. The company

announced that former


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Chief Financial Officer Heidi Miller would become its new CFO, and current CFO Paul Francis would become CFO of


, the priceline affiliate that lets customers name their own price for grocery items. Analysts were fighting one other to heap praise on the new employee.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

analyst Jamie Kiggen noted that Miller's hire was "further evidence that top Internet companies continue to attract tremendous intellectual capital." And


analyst Sara Farley wrote that Miller would help lead priceline to the next level, "from start-up to multibillion-dollar company." Of the two banks, DLJ has done underwriting for priceline.

But the notes did contain a couple of nuggets that may be of even more interest to investors. Kiggen pointed out that priceline would be holding an analyst day on March 7, "which should also be a positive catalyst." And Farley suggested that the company's announcement that Francis would shift to WebHouse indicated that WebHouse was "likely to go public sooner rather than later."


Chase H&Q

was attempting to revive another traditional Net casualty,


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. Analyst David Levy wrote that exclusivity concerns with cable partners were "overdone," and it was time to buy the stock. He wrote that forthcoming partnerships with digital-subscriber-line providers and the issuance of a tracking stock for the Excite business "could catalyze stock performance," and put a price target of 50 on the stock. Chase H&Q has done underwriting for Excite@Home. It was up 7/16, or 1.2%, to 35 7/8, after having traded as high as 37.