SAN FRANCISCO -- One minute they're up big, the next they're down just as much. Don't blink or you could miss another move.
Trading Internet stocks that are in the process of splitting can be a harrowing experience. These stocks are mostly lower today, apparently taking their cue from weakness seen in the rest of the market.
for example. On Monday, Network Solutions was trading at 293 at 3:05 p.m. EST, but finished the session at 244 3/4. The stock, which will split 2-for-1 after the close today, recently was off 5 3/4, or 2.4%, at 239.
"Normally, I would say there has to be something out there," said Dan Mathisson, head stock trader with
D.E. Shaw Securities
. "But in the Internet world, it is not unheard of for a stock to drop or go up 50 points for no reason."
There was news on the company late in the day that could possibly have accounted for some of the selling. Apparently, the government is looking into the rerouting of a Web site by Network Solutions for the
name registry service, according to the
But the price action is not unprecedented. Last Thursday, Network Solutions lost 15 points in the last 15 minutes of trading. Much of the blame for this type of volatility often is placed on daytraders, who have been major participants in the run-ups in many of these stocks.
Seeing a similar fate on Monday was
, which dropped 22 points in the last 20 minutes of trading. DoubleClick, which will split 2-for-1 April 2, was off 4 3/8, or 2.5%, at 172 5/8 in recent trading.
Also falling in a late selloff Monday was
. It was trading at 151 with less than an hour to go in the session, only to close at 132 -- more than 23 points off its session high of 155 5/8. Exodus, which will split 2-for-1 April 12, was lately down 15 1/2, or 12%, to 116 1/2.
The pattern was not limited to stocks that are splitting, however. Shares of
, which benefited from Monday's announced merger between
, closed at 140 Monday after reaching a high of 156 1/2. @Home was up 1 to 141 lately.