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Jupiter shares jump in first-day trading

Research firm Jupiter Communications closes at 35.5 after rising in earlier trading to nearly double its IPO price of 21.

Jupiter Communications today received a warm reception from investors, as its stock rose to nearly double its IPO price.

Shares in the research firm priced at 21 yesterday and opened at 33 this morning. Later in the day they had climbed to 40 but retreated to 35.5 at the close of market.

Investor enthusiasm was expected, considering that strong demand from institutional investors bumped the company's IPO price to $21 from a target range of $18 to $20 a share.

"Investors gave it a warm response, but I wouldn't say it was a red-hot IPO," said Richard Peterson, an IPO analyst with Securities Data.

Based on Jupiter's 14.3 million shares outstanding, the company ended its first trading day with a market cap of $507.6 million.

Jupiter is one of several Internet companies that launched IPOs this week. Online pharmacy PlanetRx launched its IPO yesterday, closing at $26 a share--up 10 points from its target price.

Webvan, which earlier in the week was expected to begin trading today, announced yesterday that it will postpone its IPO for a "cooling off" period because of SEC concerns. The company cited significant publicity surrounding the offering as the reason for the delay.

Jupiter, which filed for its IPO in late July, generated $14.4 million in revenues during the six-month period ending June 30, up from $5.9 million a year ago. The company's net loss improved for the period, down to $130,000 compared with $1.6 million a year ago.

Underwriters for the offering are Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette, Deutsche Banc Alex Brown, Thomas Weisel Partners, and DLJdirect.