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Net stocks continue to skyrocket

Portal sites head into record territory amid positive news and investor expectations that quarterly earnings reports will be strong.

Net portal sites headed into record territory amid positive news about the sector's leaders and investor expectations that quarterly earnings reports would be strong.

Shares of Yahoo climbed more than 20 percent to close at 414.5 following news that IBM would distribute its Aptiva line of computers with built-in links to Yahoo's portal site.

Meanwhile, America Online ended the day up more than 12 percent at 165.125 after two influential analysts made positive comments about the online giant. Merrill Lynch analyst Jonathan Cohen raised his 12-month price target on the company to 195. BT Alex Brown analyst Shaun Andrikipoulos told his clients that AOL's membership is growing at unprecedented rates.

Infoseek closed the day up more than 59 percent at 87.75 as it prepares to launch its Go Network with partner Walt Disney. Disney owns a 43 percent stake in the portal firm.

Shares of Go2Net, a network of technology- and community-driven Web sites, were up 53.9375 points or 81.72 percent to 119.9375, soundly beatng the company's previous 52-week high of 78.

Steve M. Frenkel, an analyst with Joseph Stevens & Company, said the positive news has helped raise the tide for all Net portal sites. In addition, he said, "We've had a rash of announcements about revenues being good," raising expectations among investors that they will cash in on quarterly earnings reports, which are due from most of the companies during the next few weeks.

The run-up in Net stocks follows a similar rally last week. Portal Lycos shot up 28.32 percent to 91.75 on Friday, surpassing its previous 52-week high of 75.25, set the day before. Today Lycos was up nearly 39 percent at 127.375.

Other winners today included Excite, up 37.6 percent at 82.5625, and Netscape Communications, up 11.3 percent at 68.9375.

Yahoo is slated to release its quarterly earnings report tomorrow.