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Sapient added to S&P 500, stock surges

    Sapient shares soared up 18 5/8, or 23 percent, to 98 Thursday after the Internet consulting firm was added to the S&P 500 Index.

    Sapient (Nasdaq: SAPE) will replace Reynolds Metals (NYSE: RLM) after the bell.

    In its latest quarter, Sapient beat the Street estimate by 2 cents a share, earning $12.7 million, or 19 cents a share, on sales of $100.3 million.

    That $100.3 million in sales marked a 74 percent improvement from the first quarter of 1999.

    First Call Corp. consensus expects the company to return a profit of 20 cents a share in its second quarter and 83 cents a share in the fiscal year.

    Its shares peaked at 151 3/16 in January after falling to a 52-week low of 23 7/8 in July.

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