priceline Gets in Gear With AutoNation Deal

Shares of the company were climbing on news of its deal with AutoNation to sell new cars through the priceline Web site.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Like the rest of the market, the Internet sector has been awaiting Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's appearance before the Senate banking committee later this morning, though a number of stocks were moving this morning irrespective of the Fed chief.

Shares of

priceline.com

(PCLN)

, which have been battered of late, were on the mend today after the company said it had entered into an agreement with

AutoNation

to sell new cars from AutoNation through the priceline Web site. priceline was up 5 11/32, or 7%, at 79 in early trading.

Among the top percentage gainers was

Bluefly

(BFLY)

, an online retailer that sells brand-name clothing at a discount. The company said that a group led by affiliates of financier

George Soros

was investing $10 million in the company. Soros' Midas touch was lifting the stock up 2 5/8, or 26%, at 12 3/4 lately.

America Online

(AOL)

remained on the defensive after closing below 100 Tuesday for the first time since June 15. The Internet service provider was hit

Tuesday by reports from

The-Adviser.com

that indicated

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

was going after AOL's market by dropping the price of its Internet access. AOL was off 1 11/16, or 2%, at 96 1/2 in early trading, while AT&T was up 3/8 to 55 3/8

Internet IPOs will be in the spotlight later today, with the much-hyped

drugstore.com

(DSCM:Nasdaq) making its debut. The 5 million-share IPO was priced last night above-range at $18 by

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

. The price range for the online drugstore's offering initially was set for $9-$11 and then was raised to $15-$17.

Get set for a big opening, but remember that a hot start is not always such a good thing. Last week, when

MP3

(MPPP)

debuted, it also started on fire -- opening at 92 after being priced at 28 -- but spent most of the day below its opening price before closing at 61. Today it was trading down 2 7/8, or 6%, at 41 5/8.

Also scheduled to go is

Quokka Sports

(QKKA:Nasdaq), an online sports-entertainment programmer. Merrill Lynch priced the 5 million-share initial offering midrange at $12 last night.