Internet Sleight of Hand

Hey, these Internet stocks skyrocket after press announcements but often reverse just as quickly. Investors are starting to notice.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- In the world of Internet trading these days, it's not whether you win or lose, it's how quickly you play the game.

Genesis Direct

(GEND)

is the latest Internet skyrocket. The company announced an agreement with

Excite

(XCIT)

to sell its athletic clothing, toys, collectibles and other merchandise. The stock more than tripled at one point today to 22 but has already slipped back to 10 7/8 as traders have learned to get in and out quickly on the day's big newsmaker.

In the category of out of favor one minute and in favor the next,

Inktomi

(INKT)

added as much as 19 3/8 to 146 3/4 points after announcing a two-for-one stock split after the close of trading yesterday, but most of that gain came in premarket trading. The stock sold off after opening at 9:30 a.m. EST and lately was up 8 5/8 to 136 5/8. Inktomi had lost 10 points yesterday on news that

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

had filed an intent to sell around $28 million in Inktomi stock.

One press release

didn't

take today.

E*Trade

(EGRP)

dropped 8 to 52 even though it announced it would have a presence on

CNNfn.com

. Still, the stock is up sharply from its Dec. 21 close of 32 1/8.

National Discount Brokerage

(NDB)

was down nearly 7 points despite a

CNBC

appearance by Chairman Dennis Marino. A cautionary article in

The Wall Street Journal

may also be contributing to the uneasiness in Internet stocks.

Though it is easy to get caught up in the hype of the "stock of the day," Alan Lowenstein, co-portfolio manager for the

(NTTFX)

John Hancock Global Technology fund, says investors should stick with "quality names" like AOL,

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

,

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

and

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

. In addition, those that benefit from a growing Internet, such as

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

and

FDX

(FDX) - Get Report

, should be solid performers without the minute-to-minute gyrations of some Internet stocks.

Lowenstein says supply could be one of the factors in derailing the Internet stocks. Any number of companies with a presence on the Internet will be going public in 1999, while companies that have gone public in the latter half of 1998 will be announcing secondary offerings. Top holdings in the $360 million John Hancock Global Technology fund are AOL, Cisco,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and

EMC

(EMC)

.

There was no joy down under for

Oracle's

(ORCL) - Get Report

Larry Ellison

. The colorful CEO was unable to experience the thrill of victory after his yacht won the Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race. The event was marred by a deadly storm that killed six participants. Competitors had to contend with 90 mph winds and 35-foot waves that could have made the race even more disastrous still. Ellison reportedly was in tears following the race and did not participate in the winner's ceremony. Shares of Oracle were off 1/4 at 44 3/16.

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