AOL Inches Higher After Analyst Meeting

But simply addressing the broadband matter yesterday wasn't enough to ignite the stock this morning.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The reports of America Online's (AOL) death are greatly exaggerated.

Sure,

Mark Twain

changed his name, but he never had to struggle with the change AOL currently faces: the transition to broadband.

The AOL's efforts to make the shift have been a major concern for investors, who fear that the company with a market cap of nearly $145 billion will be left behind in the move. So, naturally, people were

relieved to hear the company address the broadband issue head on at its Wednesday meeting with analysts in New York City.

"Yup, they addressed the broadband bogeyman," wrote

SG Cowen

analyst Scott Reamer in a research note released this morning, "but not with a definitive announcement of a cable deal, but by putting it in its proper place. This may not dull the sting of the overhang on the stock, but it sure was a great rebuttal to the cable-puts-AOL-out-of-business thesis."

But the calming effect hasn't led to any major price run in the stock thus far. Shares of AOL were up 1 to 135 1/2 in early action after trading higher in advance of the meeting.

Also among Internet stocks, shares of

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

were off 3 7/8, or 3%, at 135 11/16 after the company filed a $2 billion shelf offering. Proceeds from the offering will be used for expansion.

Shares of Internet bank

Telebanc

(TBFC)

were firmer early on this morning. In a research note released early today,

Merrill Lynch

analyst Henry Blodget said that recent weakness in the stock, which was perhaps in response to higher interest rates, created a buying opportunity. He said Telebanc's fundamentals are strong and that the rise in interest rates will not "have a meaningful impact on the company's performance." Merrill is an underwriter for Telebanc.

The stock was trading up 2 3/4, or 4%, at 75 3/4. Rival

Net.B@nk

(NTBK)

was down 4 5/16, or 9%, at 46 1/4.

Shares of

Etec Systems

(ETEC)

were down sharply after the company missed earnings estimates after the close on Wednesday. Etec reported third-quarter earnings of 9 cents a share, 1 cent below the

First Call

consensus estimate. The company also warned of losses in the fourth and first quarters.

Credit Suisse First Boston

cut its rating on the stock to hold from buy this morning. Shares of Etec were down 7, or 19%, at 29 in early trading after gaining close to 5 points Wednesday in advance of the report.