SAN FRANCISCO -- Tech stocks have extended their recent rally, with investors taking cues from a sanguine earnings report Wednesday from Micron Technology (MU) - Get Report and a marketing deal disclosed Thursday between eBay (EBAY) - Get Report and America Online (AOL) .
Under the four-year marketing pact, which calls for eBay to pay AOL $75 million, the companies will create customized and co-branded sites that providing comprehensive listings, feedback and ratings, message boards and content from eBay. The companies will cross-promote their products and work together to facilitate eBay's expansion into international markets.
eBay also filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
to offer 6.5 million shares. The company said it will use the proceeds from the stock sale for general corporate purposes.
AOL was up 8 3/8, or 7%, at 125 7/8, while eBay was up 16 5/8, or 11%, at 162.
Home of the Braverman
In other Internet news, well-traveled analyst Alan Braverman initiated coverage on a number of Net stocks from his new digs at
NationsBanc Montgomery Securities
. Braverman previously worked at
Deutsche Bank Securities
Credit Suisse First Boston
before taking over at NationsBanc earlier this month.
Braverman began coverage of Internet blue-chips AOL,
with buy ratings. He also set buy ratings on a number of other Internet companies, including
What a SAP
A double-dose of bad news for Germany's
. The company said first-quarter sales growth will fall short of its previous forecast of 20% to 25%, meaning pretax profits should "fall significantly" from year-ago levels. For the full year, the company expressed confidence it can achieve its revenue-growth target of 20% to 25% and that profits for the full year will exceed 1998 levels.
In addition, the stock was downgraded to neutral from outperform by
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
. It was off 1/2, or 2%, at 24 1/2.
Benefiting from some analysts' comments is
Warburg Dillon Read
reported today that the selloff in the stock over the past several days provides "an excellent buying opportunity." Warburg Dillon Read reiterated its strong buy and price target of 150. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter analyst Mark Edelstone also reiterated his outperform rating on the stock and his price target of 110. The stock was up 4 5/16, or 7%, at 66 3/8.
It's been competition and counter-competition this week for
, the online audience-measurement service that last month filed to go public.
Nielsen Media Research
launched a new online-ratings service in partnership with Web-measurement service
. The new service, called Nielsen//NetRatings, claimed several improvements over Media Metrix, including more accurate sampling of the Internet audience, regular measurement of demographic exposure to specific advertising and detailed reports on a weekly, not just monthly, basis. Unlike Media Metrix, though, it doesn't yet measure workplace usage.
Then, on Wednesday, Media Metrix launched its own new product: weekly reports of unique visitors to, and reach of, Web sites, though without the specifics of its monthly reports. The company denied the move was in response to Nielsen//NetRatings.
"Media Metrix has been working on this report for several months," said a spokeswoman. "It takes more than two days to slam together a report." Nielsen//Netratings has found some early fans, including Kate Lynch, director of research for Starcom IP, the interactive media unit of ad agency
. She praises the service's speed, "which in this world is absolutely vital," she says. She also approves of the banner ad information. "If I'm planning for Miller Beer," she says, "I can find out what Budweiser is doing very easily, and how effective they are."
What the new service means to Media Metrix's subscription base is unclear. "I think for this year we'll keep both" services, Lynch says. "I'm not sure what'll happen next year."
-- George Mannes