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Excite@Home shares pull out of slump

Excite@Home shares moved up 1 3/4, or 6 percent, to 30 5/16 Monday after it launched its new broadband portal for high-speed access customers and received some positive comments from an analyst.

Banc of America Securities said Monday that Excite@Home (Nasdaq: ATHM) shares were "compelling at these levels," referring to its descent below $30 a share this month.

After surging to a 52-week high of 99 in April the stock has sputtered and stumbled, falling to a low of 26 3/4 earlier this month.

On Monday, the company rolled out @Home 2000, the next-generation broadband online service that combines high-speed access from @Home with new Excite broadband rich media and personalized content, to help subscribers manage their daily lives.

Company officials said the service will make the broadband experience easy by packaging together everything a customer needs: high-speed access, an 'always-on' connection, a complete software package designed for broadband, and a personalized Excite broadband content experience.

Forrester Research expects more than 27 million dial-up customers will access the Internet through high-speed networks in 2003, with 62 percent of first-time users choosing broadband over dial-up services.

"Broadband represents a major change in the public's Internet experience," said CEO George Bell in a prepared release. "With speed, an easy connection and rich, personalized content, @Home 2000 marks the fundamental shift in the consumer movement to broadband. Today we've set a new standard for ease and usability for broadband online services."

In its latest quarter, Excite@Home met analysts' estimates, earning $514,000 on sales of $128.8 million.

First Call consensus expects it to break even in its first quarter and pocket 10 cents a share in the fiscal year.

Sixteen of the 19 analysts covering the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.