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Novell shares ride caching wave

The software maker's stock jumps following news that it will meet sales expectations this quarter and that Toshiba has licensed its technology for easing Web congestion.

Novell's stock jumped more than 26 percent today following announcements that the software maker will meet sales expectations this quarter and that Toshiba has licensed its technology for easing Web congestion.

Novell shares peaked at a new 52-week high of 34.75 in trading today on heavy volume of 26.7 million. Shares closed the day up 7.25 to 34.31.

The company's stock has been on the upswing since Novell executives earlier this week said the firm is having a good sales quarter and will meet revenue expectations.

In late November, shares of Novell sank as much as 12 percent to 19.25 when several analysts downgraded the stock after the company reported its quarterly earnings and said its sales increase was less than expected.

But Novell chief financial officer Dennis Raney this week told Bloomberg that sales in all geographic regions were good for the quarter that will end Jan. 31.

Since the announcement, Novell's stock, which began at 25 Monday, has increased about 28 percent.

Analyst Steve Shepich of Olde Discount Corp. said yesterday's Toshiba deal has also boosted Novell's stock.

Toshiba licensed Novell's technology to speed up Web performance and will use it for its forthcoming Web caching product, which speeds up the delivery of Web pages to users' computers. The technology stores Internet content on a server that is closer to the user, which reduces delays in receiving Web pages.

Shepich said companies such as Inktomi and Akamai Technologies, which build such so-called caching technology, are hot on Wall Street--and Novell is riding that wave. Akamai's shares closed at 281.06, while Inktomi ended the day at 191.5.

"Novell's had strength the last few days," he said. "The caching announcement isn't that huge a deal, but it does put them in the same realm as the caching start-ups who are doing very well in the market."

Bloomberg contributed to this report.