Net Stocks Begin Slow Preholiday Climb

The sector is struggling to undo the problems it encountered earlier this week.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Internet stocks are still trying to dig themselves out of the hole they were buried in earlier this week.

Trading has been light early on today and could stay that way ahead of the holiday weekend. There has been some talk that Wednesday's lows in many Net stocks may have represented a bottom for the sector. Shares of Internet companies were mixed in this morning's choppy opening, while the

Nasdaq Composite

index edged into positive territory.

Among the bellwethers,

America Online

(AOL)

was unchanged at 116 in early trading.

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

was up 1, or 1%, at 134 3/8, while

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

was unchanged at 169 after trading to an early low of 165 3/16.

One of the leading point gainers on the

Nasdaq

early today was

StarMedia Networks

(STRM) - Get Report

, which has been dubbed "the AOL of Latin America." The Internet portal was up 11 1/2, or 25%, at 57, though it traded as high as 64 3/4 early on. Shares of the company, which were priced at 15 on Tuesday night, have soared since its debut on Wednesday.

CMGI

(CMGI)

was trading lower after its 2-for-1 stock split as of the close of trading Thursday. The stock was down 2 3/16, or 2%, at 94 1/2.

CNet

(CNET) - Get Report

, which will split 2 for 1 as of the close of trading today, was down 3/8 at 99 5/8.

Elsewhere,

Computer Associates

(CA) - Get Report

was firmer after the enterprise-software maker beat earnings estimates Thursday night. Computer Associates reported earnings of 83 cents a share for its fiscal fourth quarter, 1 cent better than the

First Call

estimate of 82 cents. Following the report,

CIBC World Markets

upgraded the stock to strong buy from hold, while

Prudential Securities

upped its price target on the stock to 50 from 45. It was up 1 7/8, or 4%, at 45 7/8.

Shares of

Nextel Communications

(NXTL)

were stronger after the company said it received the $600 million investment from

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

which was announced earlier this month.

Nextel said Microsoft received about 16.67 million shares of Nextel stock at the agreed price of $36 a share. Microsoft now has a 4.25% stake in Nextel on a fully diluted basis. Nextel was up 11/16, or 2%, at 35 5/16, while Microsoft was up 3/16 to 78 9/16

Business Week's

latest Inside Wall Street column mentions

Lightbridge

(LTBG)

, a small specialty software company. The column quotes Pat Farley of

Kopp Investment Advisors

saying Lightbridge "is an undiscovered gem." Shares of the company were lately trading up 2 3/16, or 22%, at 11 15/16.

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