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Net Sector Starts -- and Slows -- After PPI Release Internet Sector index started off strong with the rest of the market, but it's since moved off its session highs.

Friendly economic data started the day's trading on a positive note, but that didn't provide enough momentum to sustain an early rally by midmorning. Internet Sector index was up 3.01, or 0.5%, at 614.75, but that was down from a session high of 624.64.

Today's number was the

Producer Price Index

, and a 0.1% decline in the

core index has again fueled optimism that the

Federal Reserve

will not raise interest rates. And while Treasuries have soared on the report, some contend that gains in the futures market have been nothing more than shorts covering ahead of the weekend and the Fed should not be taken out of the picture. This morning's trading illustrates a continuing propensity to sell into strength in the market.

Net bellwethers, which got a boost Thursday when

CIBC World Markets


coverage of the stocks, were on the move again.



was up 3 13/16, or 2%, at 166 1/2;



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was up 9 7/8, or 7%, at 154 5/16;


was up 2, or 3%, at 65 5/8; and

America Online


was up 1 1/16, or 1%, at 97 5/16.

Wachovia Securities

began coverage of eBay today with a long-term buy rating and a target price of 208.

And some very familiar names that have captured the fancy of Net investors were back on the offensive.

Red Hat


was up 2 11/16, or 2%, at 125 15/16, but saw selling again right around the 130 area.



, which was up 19% Thursday after it said it was extending its partnership with Red Hat, was up 1 3/16, or 6%, at 21 1/16.



, a maker of wireless amplifiers, was up another 6, or 60%, at 16 1/8. The stock had surged 224% Thursday after it unveiled new set of products that it claims provides high-speed wireless Internet access that was 35 times faster than 56K dial-up service.

Asian Internet stocks were on the rise.


was up 8 7/8, or 12%, at 83 3/4;

Pacific Internet


was up 3 3/4, or 8%, at 50; and

Internet Initiative Japan


was up 2 1/2, or 3%, at 82.

Don't Bank on It

This week's issue of


takes a shot at online bankers in a story titled "Is Web Banking a Bust?" The story cites figures from database marketer

Cyber Dialogue

that of the 6.3 million people who have opened online bank accounts, 3.1 million have closed their accounts, and only 35% of those people say they would consider trying it again. Poor customer service and complicated site navigation were listed as reasons for closing accounts. By contrast, the article states, only 3% of those who trade stocks online have closed their accounts and 85% were satisfied with their service.