Soft Purchasing Data Lift Net Stocks

But the heat is still on the Net bellwethers.
Author:
Publish date:

SAN FRANCISCO -- An early-morning fog of interest-rate pressures lifted Monday as a soft purchasing managers report warmed Net stocks and shed new light on Friday's jobs

report.

Treasuries trimmed losses following the report, which showed some moderation in the manufacturing sector.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index followed suit: It was down 1.24, or 0.2%, at 554.85 after trading to an early low of 548.80.

But the report was of little help to Net bellwethers such as

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

, which was reeling from yet another attack in

Barron's

over the weekend. The article focused on a decline in revenue per customer, which the magazine notes is not something you would expect as Amazon adds products to its Web site. The article quotes

Merrill Lynch

analyst Henry Blodget as saying the numbers are disconcerting, but Blodget claims it is too early to "draw hard-and-fast conclusions."

Blodget noted the deceleration in growth in a research note he penned Monday in response to the piece, but the analyst still sees the upcoming holiday season acting as "a positive catalyst in Q4, boosting the stock by the end of the year." But Blodget notes that for Amazon "to hit our aggressive-case forecasts -- and for Amazon to be a good performer in 2000 -- we believe revenue per customer must start increasing within 12-18 months."

In early trading, Amazon was down 2, or 2%, at 98 1/16.

TSC's

Adam Lashinsky examined

Barron's

obsession with Amazon in a

column in June.

Among other Net bellwethers,

America Online

(AOL)

remained on the defensive, trading down 2 3/4, or 3%, at 94 3/8.

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

was off 2 9/16, or 3%, at 95 1/8.

Banc Of America Securities

Internet analyst Alan Braverman revised his rating system on Net stocks, reranking the stocks that he tracks. Braverman wrote that the previous ratings "did not permit us to adjust our opinions with enough precision to reflect changes in company fundamentals or markets."

Braverman previously had buy ratings on all 13 stocks in his coverage area, and the ratings have now changed on three. Braverman upped Amazon.com to strong buy from buy with a price target of 210. He also upped

Xoom.com

(XMCM)

to strong buy with a price target of 100; the stock was off 1/8 at 44 1/2. But Braverman put a market performer rating on

Infoseek

(SEEK)

. The stock was up 7/16 at 38 1/2.