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A widely expected increase in interest rates created little stir in the Internet sector this afternoon. Net stocks pressed higher after the Fed's announcement, but they didn't exactly run away as the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index slipped late in the day. Internet Sector

index closed up 36.18, or 3.4%, at 1109.40. New Tech 30 finished up 14.73, or 2.4%, at 620.15. The Comp ended the session up 21.98, or 0.5%, at 4073.96, though it dropped more than 50 points in the final 35 minutes of trading, which could indicate potential weakness when the market opens tomorrow.

The Fed did not surprise the market with a 50-point hike, electing instead for a 25-point one, but suggested in its statement that it remains on a tightening course due to potential inflation concerns. But that statement did not catch the market by surprise, and most Fed watchers are predicting another 25-point hike at the next Fed meeting in March.

Leading the way higher today were some of the traditional Net bellwethers, which may have benefited from short-covering in addition to the Fed news.



closed up 10 5/8, or 3%, at 328;

America Online


finished up 4 11/16, or 9%, at 51 15/16; and


finished up 2, or 3%, at 69 7/16 ahead of its quarterly report.

After the close, Amazon reported a loss of 55 cents a share for its fourth quarter, which was worse than the 48-cent loss the Street expected. However, the company indicated that it expected to turn a profit in 2000, which apparently has cheered investors as the company's stock was recently higher in after-hours trading.

Yahoo!'s gains came after the company said it was teaming with German mobile-phone maker


to make Internet content available on Siemens phones. In addition,

WR Hambrecht

initiated coverage of Yahoo! with a market outperform rating, which is the firm's top rating, and a price target of 400.

America Online said that its membership surpassed the 21 million mark and that its average user spends more than one hour a day online.

Among other prominent movers,



closed up 2 1/2, or 5%, at 50 3/4 a day ahead of its earnings report. Beaten-up



closed up 2 1/2, or 17%, at 17 after getting a gift from

Robertson Stephens

in the form of an upgrade to buy from long-term attractive.



finished up 4 1/16, or 4%, at 119 1/2. In a research note published earlier,

Prudential Securities

suggested that the stock was trading below its estimated market value. Analyst Paul Merenbloom wrote that, as of Tuesday's close, CMGI was trading at a 48% discount to his expected year-end fair market value. He upped his price target on the stock to 216 from 200 and reiterated his strong buy rating.

There were mixed results for a number of stocks that reported earnings since yesterday's close.



closed down 19 1/8, or 8%, at 233 after gaining around 14 points yesterday ahead of the report. VerticalNet bested loss estimates by 6 cents and announced a 2-for-1 split, but it apparently was not enough to discourage traders from taking profits.


Copper Mountain Networks


closed up 9 3/16, or 16%, at 66 after reporting a pro forma profit of 13 cents a share for its fourth quarter vs. the 8-cent estimate. And



closed up 45 3/4, or 37%, at 168 1/8. The chipmaker reported a profit of 4 cents for the fourth quarter vs. the break-even estimate, and announced a 3-for-1 split.

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