Net Stocks Close the Year Mixed

TheStreet.com Internet Sector index finished in the red, but recovered from its session low.
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Like Y2K fears themselves, any concerns about a major setback in the Internet sector on the day before New Year's were overblown. Net stocks were mixed to close the year, as profit-takers battled those who expect the good times to continue in January.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index closed down 5.99, or 0.5%, at 1154.45 after trading as low as 1141.58 early in the session.

Bottom line, there was little interest in the sector today, particularly with early reports indicating no Y2K-related problems around the world. In fact, it appeared as if Russian President

Boris Yeltsin

couldn't have picked a better time to relinquish power. Russian markets traded higher on the news, and there was little concern as well in the U.S.

Among notable stocks,

Excite@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

closed up 7/8, or 2%, at 42 7/8 after getting a plug from Al Goldman, chief market strategist at

A.G. Edwards

, during an appearance on

CNBC

. Goldman said despite recent weakness in the stock, the company's fundamentals were good.

Commerce One

(CMRC)

traded lower for the fourth straight session. It ended down 6 1/2, or 3%, at 196 1/2. It has now given back close to 135 points since topping out at 331 Tuesday. Concerns over the lifting of locked-up shares and profit-taking have driven the stock lower in recent sessions.

Some market favorites continued to flourish.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

ended up 16 5/8, or 4%, at 432 11/16. Internet incubators

CMGI

(CMGI)

and

Internet Capital Group

(ICGE)

also ended 1999 on a strong note. CMGI added 8 1/16, or 3%, to 276 7/8, while ICGE closed up 4 3/4, or 3%, at 170.

What will 2000 bring? Bulls are banking on the January effect to give the market a pop early in the year. Some analysts are looking for that pop to be the excuse for others to take profits and suggest potential for a mid-January selloff, perhaps to coincide with post-fourth-quarter earnings announcements and ahead of a

Federal Reserve

meeting. The Fed's Open Market Committee will meet Feb. 1-2 and is widely expected to raise interest rates then.

And while much of the Internet sector has fared well before the year's end, some more traditional plays have fallen out of favor. One daytrader said it has been easier to short Internet stocks lately than to go long. And some issues that have weakened over the past month may be seeing tax-loss selling ahead of the new year and could recover early in 2000.

E-commerce plays were mixed today.

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

closed down 9 3/4, or 7%, at 125 3/16, while

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

finished off 2 15/16, or 3.7%, at 76 1/8.

eToys

(ETYS)

posted a small gain of 11/16, or 2.7%, to 26 1/4.