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Easy come, easy go: &#039Net access providers take a dive

High Speed Access Corp. (Nasdaq: HSAC) and Metricom Inc. (Nasdaq: MCOM), two Internet access providers that have watched their respective stocks soar in the past month, learned Monday just how fickle the market can be.

High Speed Access shares plunged 7 9/16, or 16 percent, to 40 1/8 while Metricom slid 6 1/8, or 15 percent, to 56 1/2.

Since there's a lack of any particularly damning news for either company or the market as a whole, it's safe to say Monday's decline is simply the result of some profit taking.

And shareholders have plenty of profits to take.

Since its auspicious initial public offering in early June, High Speed Access shares quickly scampered up to an all-time high of 48 5/16 last week after debuting at $13 a share. In fact, its shares were stagnant at around $20 a share in late June before catching fire.

Though it's been around for quite some time, Metricom's stock had fallen off Wall Street's radar screen after falling to an all-time low of $3 a share in October. Things turned around in a hurry.

Metricom shares shot up to 56 ? last week, more than doubling in less than a week.

Much of Metricom's recent success stems from a $600 million investment from MCI WorldCom Inc. (Nasdaq: WCOM) and Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures in late June.

For better or worse, the fortunes of both stocks will likely be tied together for the foreseeable future.

And for good reason.

Prior to its IPO, Vulcan Ventures held a 54.2 percent stake in High Speed Access.

Apparently, the co-founder of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) believes both companies are positioned to capitalize on the emerging market for high-speed, wireless Internet service.

High Speed Access provides fast Internet access via cable modem to residential and commercial end-users in so-called "ex-urban" (low-income) areas.

Metricom's Ricochet service provides users of portable and desktop computers with fast, wireless Internet access.

Last quarter, Metricom lost $15 million, or 80 cents a share, on sales of $4.2 million.

First Call consensus expects Metricom to lose $6.12 a share in the fiscal year.

In late June, High Speed Access was started at a "buy" recommendation by Banc of America Securities, J.P. Morgan and Lehman Brothers, each of which played a role in its successful IPO.