Internet stocks got a little cheap loving today, as bargain hunters brought up the prices of some of the sector's biggest names battered by downgrades and a lack of investor confidence.
TheStreet.com Internet Sector index
was up 11.1% on trading volume that was well below normal, led by
In November alone, each of these former Internet highfliers slipped anywhere from 32% to 40%. Bargain hunters have moved in, but they seem to be picking up the best known -- though recently battered -- stocks. And this may widen the separation between the survivors and the also-rans as the dot-com space consolidates.
"I think people will buy the big names, but the tide will not lift all boats," said
analyst Jeff Fieler. Today's bounce might not be sustainable, but in general, he said, the bigger and better Internet stocks have had their valuations worked over enough so that they are starting to look better from a standpoint of traditional metrics.
Adding to that is the increasing concentration in Internet traffic. The top-10 Internet sites now account for 33% of page views, up more than one-third over the past two years, he said.
The big-name Internet market leaders whose values have been cut will survive and thrive beyond today's bargain-hunting bounce, said Safa Rashtchy, an analyst with
U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray
There are opportunities also for a second tier of Internet companies, said Rashtchy -- those whose valuations have been cut to ratios of two or three times revenue but who retain solid fundaments.
After a week that saw a decline after downgrades of 14.7% Tuesday and 7.5% the next day, portal giant Yahoo! closed up $2.69, or 7.04%, to $40.88. Online retailer Amazon, bouncing off the traditional open of the holiday shopping season, closed up $3.75, or 14.89%, to $28.94 on volume that was about 93% of average.
RealNetworks was up $2.44, or 17.97%, to $16 on volume that was about half of normal. And eBay was up $4.06, or 12.4%, to $36.94 on volume that was about 75% of average.