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VeriSign Deal, Nasdaq 5000 Push Cause Sparks in the Net Sector

The Internet sector is up, but VeriSign is trading lower.

Nasdaq 5000? Big deal. VeriSign (VRSN) - Get Report buying Network Solutions (NSOL) for $21 billion? Now that's a big deal.

VeriSign, a Web security firm, snapped up Network Solutions, the dominant name in domain-name registrars, for $21 billion in stock. The news sent shares of Network Solutions up 53 15/16, or 14.96%, to 414 9/16, though VeriSign was down 41 29/32, or 16.94%, to 205 17/32. Under the terms of the deal, VeriSign will issue 2.15 shares of common stock for each share of Network Solutions stock.

News of the deal and a push to get the Nasdaq above 5000 created a spark in the Internet sector.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was up 21.39, or 1.71%, to 1274.13 after trading as high as 1288.59 early on, while

TheStreet.com New Tech 30 was up an astounding 119.79, or 15%, to 901.91. The Nasdaq was trading lower after briefly topping the 5000 mark. That was seen as an area where traders may have looked to take some profits, while losses in the Dow of around 300 points also contributed to some selling.

Elsewhere,

InfoSpace

(INSP) - Get Report

was up 10 13/16, or 4.3%, to 264 5/16 after

SG Cowen

initiated coverage of the stock with a strong buy rating and a 310 price target.

priceline.com

(PCLN)

was down 6 11/16, or 7.42%, to 83 1/2 after Chairman and CEO Richard Braddock said first-quarter revenue growth would beat earlier analysts' estimates of 30%.

PaineWebber

also put a note out on the company, raising its price target on the stock to 125 from 95 while reiterating a buy rating.

PaineWebber analyst Sara Farley listed several new initiatives that priceline was expected to be involved in by the end of the year, including credit cards, auto and life insurance, vacation packages, business-to-business, consumer hard goods and additional international joint ventures. She wrote that timetable for the moves was more accelerated than originally anticipated. PaineWebber increased revenue forecast for the first quarter to $242 million from $225 million. PaineWebber has not done underwriting for priceline.

Elsewhere,

Salomon Smith Barney

was plugging online brokerages. Salomon analysts upgraded

Ameritrade

TheStreet Recommends

(AMTD) - Get Report

to buy from neutral, and also increased earnings estimates for

DLJdirect

(DIR)

and

E*Trade

(EGRP)

.

Ameritrade was up 3/8, or 1.85%, to 20 5/8. Salomon analyst Matthew Vetto increased revenue estimates for the current quarter to $141 million from $127 million and reduced the net loss estimate for the quarter to 6 cents from 12 cents, compared to the 10-cent loss estimate from

First Call/Thomson Financial

. Vetto wrote that "robust market conditions should benefit Ameritrade on a disproportionate basis relative to peers, given its leverage to transaction volume." Salomon Smith Barney has not done underwriting for Ameritrade.

Salomon upped first-quarter revenue estimates for DLJdirect to $85 million from $80 million and earnings estimates to 2 cents from 1 cent vs. a flat estimate from First Call. Salomon also raised revenue estimates for the year to $366 million from $352 million and earnings for the year to 20 cents from 15 cents. Salomon has done underwriting for DLJdirect, which was down 3/16, or 7.48%, to 12 1/2.

E*Trade was down 1 5/16, or 4.94%, to 25 1/4. Salomon raised fiscal second-quarter revenue estimates to $445 million from $418 million and fiscal-year 2000 revenue estimates to $1.26 billion from $1.19 billion. Salomon has not done underwriting for E*Trade.

Entrust

(ENTU)

was up 17 1/16, or 17%, to 116. The company is expected to announce a deal with

Ariba

(ARBA)

that calls for Entrust to provide security software to Ariba's B2B customers. Ariba was down 9/16, or 0.18%, to 316 7/16.

And

Vitria

(VITR)

was up 8 1/2, or 5%, to 176 5/8 after it announced a 2-for-1 stock split.