Tuesday's CPI Data May Put a Damper on Recent Net Rally

Most stocks are enjoying an up day as traders remain on interest-rate watch with tomorrow's report.
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A whiff of caution has crept into the Internet sector after an early-morning run-up. Last week's recovery has brightened the outlook for Net stocks, though traders remained on interest-rate watch with the July

Consumer Price Index

scheduled for release Tuesday morning.

TheStreet.com Internet Sector

index was recently up 6.73, or 1.3%, at 535.14, though it was off a high of 547.47. The sector was benefiting from the belief that the worst is over as it heads toward what is expected to be a strong quarter. Shorts established over the past couple of months have been forced to cover as well. Technical factors also were providing some support. On Friday, the DOT closed at 528.40, which was above the highs from both Aug. 4 and Aug. 6 of 526.62 and 526.24, respectively, though the DOT saw resistance around the 550 level today.

Lessening concerns over interest rates helped fuel Friday's rally, though the market will face another important test Tuesday with the release of the CPI data. A strong report could hurt much of the progress the sector made following a benign

Producer Price Index

Friday. In addition, the

Federal Reserve

meets a week from Tuesday.

Among stocks on the rise were

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

, up 7 1/2, or 8%, at 105 1/2. The company said today it was unveiling two new eBay-branded pagers from

SkyTel Communications

(SKYT)

that allow users to receive updates on their eBay auctions via pagers. The "eBay a go-go" service sends alerts to eBay users when they have won an item, been outbid on an auction or sold an item. SkyTel was flat at 20.

Also,

Audible

(ADBL)

, which delivers audio versions of books and newspapers over the Internet, was up 2 15/16, or 27.5%, at 13 5/8. The company announced deals with both

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get Report

that were giving the stock a lift.

Audible and Microsoft expanded a strategic relationship in which Audible will support Microsoft Windows Media Technologies 4.0, allowing users of Windows Media Player access to Audible's audio content. Audible's deal with RealNetworks will provide users of the

RealPlayer G2

with access to Audible's audio for playback on personal computers. RealNetworks was up 2 3/4, or 4%, at 78, while Microsoft was down 1/8 at 84 9/16.

Exodus Communications

(EXDS)

remained on a roll, up 4 5/8, or 7%, at 71 7/8. The company has soared both before and after its 2-for-1 split this past Thursday. As recently as Aug. 5, it was trading around 50 on a split-adjusted basis.

Also, a few recent initial public offerings were gaining as investors tried to search out bargains.

Phone.com

(PHCM)

was up 11 9/16, or 12%, at 109 9/16;

homestore.com

(HOMS)

was up 10 5/8, or 40%, at 37 1/2; and

Ask Jeeves

(ASKJ)

was up 3 3/8, or 10%, at 37 3/8.

On the downside were two stocks that have had incredible run-ups of late.

Redback Networks

(RBAK)

and

Juniper Networks

(JNPR) - Get Report

were both seeing profit-taking. Redback was down 14 1/2, or 7%, at 205 1/2 and Juniper was down 12 1/16, or 6%, at 201 11/16. Also seeing some profit-taking was last week's hot IPO,

Red Hat

(RHAT)

, which was down 7 11/16, or 9%, at 77 9/16.

WebTrends

(WEBT)

was down 1 7/8, or 5.5%, at 32 1/8. According to

Thomas Weisel Partners

, the lock-up release date for the company will be Tuesday, or roughly 180 days from when it went public. Weisel noted that approximately 5.9 million shares will be eligible for release, though it doesn't necessarily mean all the shares will come to market.