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Internet software stocks mixed after upgrades

A pack of Internet software issues met mixed results Thursday after ING Barings initiated coverage of the stocks with "buy" and "strong buy" recommendations.

Analyst George Godfrey started Kana Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: KANA) with a "buy" rating, sending the stock up 9 15/16 to 264 15/16.

In its latest quarter, Kana posted a loss of $89.7 million, or $3.52 a share, on sales of $6.4 million.

Vitria Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: VITR), which scampered up 2 3/4 to 118, was started with a "strong buy" rating.

However, VeriSign Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSN) fell 6 15/16 to 182 7/8 after Godfrey started the Internet security software developer with a "strong buy" rating.

VeriSign doubled analysts' estimates in its fourth quarter last week, earning $4.5 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $27.7 million.

First Call consensus expected the Internet security software maker to earn 2 cents a share in the quarter.

In the year-ago quarter, VeriSign posted sales of $13.2 million.

Its shares peaked at 212 in December after bottoming out at 18 last January.

Vignette Corp. (Nasdaq: VIGN) shed 4 3/16 to 229 13/16 after ING Barings gave it a "strong buy" rating.

Vignette easily hurdled Wall Street estimates last week with a fourth quarter operating loss of $2.7 million, or a nickel a share, on sales of $40.9 million.

First Call expected a loss of 8 cents a share.

Including charges and other one-time items, Vignette lost $5.6 million, or 10 cents a share. Vignette's results were stellar compared to a year ago. In the fourth quarter a year ago, Vignette reported an operating loss of $7.6 million, or 20 cents a share, on sales of $6.7 million.