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Broader Declines Can't Keep Net IPOs Down

Four brand-new Internet stocks are seeing green in spite of the overall market's tumble.

The sharp drops seen across all the major proxies weren't having much effect on the Net sector's four IPOs today.

With the loss in the


well over 100 points and the


off close to 40 points, the Internet sector was under pressure around midsession. Internet Sector

index was off 17.17, or 2.7%, at 611.83 in recent trading. Continued strength in gold and weakness in Treasuries along with a sour mood left over from last week were keeping the market on the defensive.

The most recent debutante in today's market was

Foundry Networks


, a maker of networking equipment, and it was well received. The stock was priced at 25 Monday, but it was recently up 95, or 380%, at 120.

Three other Net-related IPOs were faring well amid the overall decline.



, an online site for physicians, was up 7 1/8, or 90%, at 15 1/8. It was the most active on the Nasdaq with 24 million shares changing hands.

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, a wholesale provider of Internet telephony services, was up 8 1/8, or 68%, at 20 1/8.


, a provider of marketing services to e-merchants, was up 2 1/4, or 19%, at 14 1/4.

Among the bellwethers,



was off 4 1/8, or 2.3%, at 177 1/4, and



was down 3 7/8, or 3%, at 134 7/8.

Also, shares of



were down 7 29/32, or 7%, at 111 1/8, perhaps in response to news that



would be spinning off its


subsidiary into its own company. DoubleClick does a lot of business with AltaVista, and concerns were raised about whether its revenue would be impacted after CMGI bought AltaVista back in

June. CMGI was lately up 2 1/16, or 2.1%, at 95 3/16, after reporting stellar earnings results yesterday.

The leading point decliner on the Nasdaq today was

Alteon WebSystems


, which was seeing some profit-taking after soaring since its Friday IPO. Alteon was priced at 19 and traded as high as 122 1/2 Monday, but it was recently down 16 3/16, or 14.5%, at 95 7/8.

Online Brokers Hit Again

Online brokers were reeling from overall weakness in the market along with some cautionary comments from

Salomon Smith Barney

. Analyst Richard Zandi lowered his rating on



to neutral from outperform and sliced the price target to 17 from 24. Zandi wrote that the downgrade reflects what he believes to be a "more meaningful valuation based on the lifetime value of a customer account, as opposed to relative revenue multiples." DLJdirect was recently trading down 1, or 6%, at 15.

Zandi initiated coverage of



with an outperform rating and a price target of 26. He wrote that he sees E*Trade "as the best-positioned firm in the sector, building the richest package of product offerings in the industry." Competition, he wrote, would boost the cost of acquiring each new account next year. Zandi also initiated coverage on



with a neutral rating and a price target of 19. E*Trade was down 5/8, or 3%, at 21 3/4, while Ameritrade was down 7/16, or 3%, at 17 5/16.

Among other online financial companies, Zandi initiated coverage of



with a neutral rating and a price target of 28. While praising the company as being a leader in online borrowing with strong distribution partners, he wrote that the mortgage product "is complex and may be slow to move online." He wrote that the current valuation "is overly optimistic, and underestimates the significant challenges that EELN will continue to face." The stock was down 7 9/16, or 23%, at 25 7/16.