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Metawave gains in IPO

Metawave Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: MTWV) moved up 42 percent in its market debut Thursday.

The company had priced its 6.25 million shares at $9 each, well below its proposed range of $11-$13 a share in a harsh week for technology stocks that scared off several initial public offerings.

Shares in the company, which makes smart antenna systems used by wireless network operators to fix capacity problems, were up 3 3/4 to 12 3/4.

Though Metawave has hefty losses, it has managed to narrow them while growing its revenue; for the three months ended March 31, the company had a net loss of $7.7 million on revenue of $9.3 million, compared to a loss of $12.7 million on revenue of $6.8 million in the same period of 1999.

About 36.6 million shares will be outstanding after the offering, which is being underwritten by Merrill Lynch & Co., Salomon Smith Barney and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

Metawave had planned an IPO once before in 1998 but withdrew it because the terms obtainable were not sufficiently attractive, the company said.

Metawave competes with Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT), Lucent (NYSE: LU) and Motorola (NYSE: MOT).