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ShowCase&#039s IPO gets boos, Network Plus is solid

ShowCase Corp. (Nasdaq: SHWC) and Network Plus Inc. (Nasdaq: NPLS) were supposed to be the warm-up acts for Thursday's flood of initial public offerings. But so far, one has been booed off the stage.

ShowCase shares were unchanged at 9 after pricing its 3 million-share offering at $9, the low end of its initial $9-$11 range. The stock did manage to push up as high as 9 5/8 before losing ground.

The Rochester, Minnesota-based company provides data storage software for IBM.

Network Plus had a better debut. Shares were up 8 15/16 to 24 15/16, or 56 percent, after pricing its 8 million-share offering at $16 a share. The stock surged as high as 30 9/16.

Network Plus is a voice and data CLEC, or Competitive Local Exchange Carrier, which offers local telephone services along East Coast.

In other IPO news, E-mail company USA.Net Inc. (Nasdaq: MBOX) said Tuesday it had cut the number of shares in its initial public offering, to 6 million from 8.5 million, and the expected price range to $10-$12 a share from $15-$17. The company, based in Colorado Springs, makes software for message retrieval.

The IPOs today, however, just serve as an opening act. Ask Jeeves (Nasdaq: ASKJ), a question-based search engine, is one of many set to begin trading Thursday. It raised its range Wednesday to $12-$13, from a previous pricing of $9-$11.

Clarent (Proposed ticker: CLRN), Commerce One (Proposed ticker: CMRC) and Musicmaker.com (Proposed ticker: HITS) are all scheduled to price tonight and trade Thursday.

Commerce One's price range was raised to $17 to $19 a share from $13 to $15, lead underwriter Credit Suisse First Boston said Wednesday.