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Yahoo, AOL hit record highs

Stock in the companies surge to historic highs on anticipation that portal fever will continue to sweep the Internet industry.

Yahoo and America Online hit historic highs today as Internet stocks continued to ride speculation that more investments, partnerships, and buyouts would be fueled by the portal fever that has swept the industry.

Yahoo jumped 6 percent today to close at 148.0625, up 8.5 over yesterday. The shares, which reached as high as 150.375 today, hit a new record for the search-engine company, whose previous 52-week high was set on June 18 at 136.375 a share.

AOL, meanwhile, climbed 5 percent to close at 106.25 a share, up 5.125 from yesterday. Like Yahoo, AOL last hit an all-time high only a few days ago, when its stock reached 97.875 a share.

"There have been some fundamental events in these stocks that have drawn interest," said Shaun Andrikopoulos, an analyst with BT Alex Brown. "No. 1, people are expecting a strong second-quarter reporting season. No. 2, NBC's investment in CNET and Disney's deal with Infoseek have driven excitement into the group as a whole."

Andrikopoulos added that investor enthusiasm for Internet stocks tends to build during the last couple of weeks before a quarter's end.

Other analysts cautioned that it is difficult to determine the effect that so-called short-sellers played in today's trading of AOL and Yahoo shares. But yesterday's listing of short interest positions on the New York Stock Exchange in the Wall Street Journal reported that short-sellers in AOL had declined.

Yahoo's jump comes despite its disclosure in a recent regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects to post a loss for the second quarter, due to a one-time $45 million charge related to its recent buyout of Viaweb.

Reuters contributed to this report.