Net IPOs Highlight Sector's Strength

Internet issues were also benefiting from Yahoo!'s recent success.
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Could there be a better day for an Internet company to go public? Not really.

Two Net stocks that debuted today were benefiting from investors' renewed Internet mania and a strong IPO market.

PlanetRx.com

(PLRX)

, an online drugstore, was up 11 5/16, or 71%, at 27 5/16. (

TheStreet.com's

Suzanne Kapner

presented a not-so-flattering picture of the company in a

piece earlier today.) And

Calico Commerce

(CLIC)

, which sells software to facilitate sales on the Internet, was up 40 3/8, or 289%, at 54 3/8.

Randall Roth, an analyst with the

Renaissance Capital IPO Fund

, said PlanetRx was an exception to what has become a tougher IPO market for e-commerce plays. He said Internet infrastructure, business-to-business and software infrastructure plays will remain the strongest parts of the new-issue market.

Roth said there are 200 IPOs in various stages of the pipeline, which is a huge number, and the new issues will need a strong stock market if they are going to continue to succeed.

"We've been cycling for the past six months where we've had many booms and many busts, but nothing dramatic or prolonged," he said. "There will be some swings, but you don't get this overly optimistic sense that everything is sweet. But there's no doom and gloom either, like last October, and people should be pretty enthusiastic heading into the new year."

Sharp gains among Net stocks certainly were helping.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was recently up 17.07, or 2.4%, at 725.81. It reached a high of 737.64 but continues to fluctuate depending on overall market movements.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

continued to lead the way, up 14 7/8, or 9%, at 190 5/8 after its stellar earnings report Wednesday.

In a note on Yahoo!'s earnings released earlier today,

Credit Suisse First Boston

analyst Lise Buyer emphasized that Yahoo! is one of the prime Net stocks with a distinct and solid business.

"We believe that investors are increasingly differentiating between stocks with solid fundamentals and those with interesting names but no defensible business. We believe that investment dollars will migrate accordingly," Buyer wrote. "While we are not of the opinion that a rising number of 'It's going to be a big e-commerce Christmas' headlines will float all Internet boats, we do believe that several names are well positioned for a strong finish to 1999. Yahoo! is high on that list."

Net bellwethers were sponging off Yahoo!'s success today.

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

was up 5 11/16, or 7%, at 88 1/8;

America Online

(AOL)

was up 2 5/8, or 2%, at 122 11/16; and

CMGI

(CMGI)

was up 7 5/16, or 7%, at 113.