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Market Close: Internet stocks pounded

A mostly languid trading day was interrupted by a late selling binge Thursday as Internet stocks absorbed heavy losses. The Nasdaq closed off 35 points to 2,542.42 while the Dow shed 21 points to end at 10,866.74,

With the U.S trade deficit ballooning to a record $19.7 billion in March and the possibility of an interest-rate hike down the road, investors are disinclined to jump in with both feet.

"You'll see a positive reaction any day there's no inflationary news in the market," said Barry Hyman, market strategist at Ehrenkrantz, King & Nussbaum. "But the Fed has put a cap on the upside."

The Internet carnage was a lately development as most of .coms were only slightly lower at midday.

Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) fell 6 3/4 to 151 1/2. America Online Inc. (AOL) dropped 5 1/4 to 129 1/4 and Lycos Inc. (LCOS) plunged 6 3/4 to close at 110 1/2.

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) fell 8 3/4 to 130 13/16 after announcing plans to raise another $2 billion in the public capital markets. Infoseek Corp. (SEEK) lost 1 1/2 to 45 1/2.

Healtheon Corp. (HLTH) stormed up 20 3/8 to 100 5/8 after it closed its merger with Web MD. Premiere Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: PTEK), which will hold 5.2 million Healtheon shares after the merger, gained 1 5/8 to 17 15/16.

EToys Inc. (Nasdaq: ETYS) shot up 56 9/16, or 283 percent, to 76 9/16 in its initial public offering.

Etec Software Inc. (ETEC) plunged 5 5/8 to 30 3/8 after missing third quarter estimates. Vodaphone Group Plc. (VOD) picked up 6 13/32 to 205 after declaring a two-for-one stock split after it completes its merger with AirTouch Communications.

Among widely held networking stocks, Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) slid 1 13/16 to 114 _. Lucent Technologies Inc. (LU) lost 1 1/8 to 58 7/8 and Ascend Communications Inc. (ASND) fell 1 13/16 to 94 1/4. 3Com Corp. (COMS) picked up 1 5/32 to 29 21/32.

Dell Computer Corp. (DELL) dropped 1 9/16 to 38 1/4. Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ) lost 7/16 to 25 9/16 while Gateway Inc. (GTW) and Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL) closed off 3 13/16 and 2 11/16 a share, respectively.