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Inktomi up on stock split

Shares in the Internet search engine and caching software firm jump as much as 15 percent following its 2-for-1 stock split.

    Shares in Inktomi jumped as much as 15 percent higher today, one day after the Internet search engine and caching software company announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

    The split, approved by Inktomi's board of directors, will be effective for shareholders of record as of January 12, and new shares will be mailed by the company's transfer agent, Norwest Bank Minnesota, later in the month.

    Stock in the company has climbed steadily since its initial public offering, which opened at 30.75 per share in June. The company's shares have traded as high as 158.5 since then, and have not dipped below the psychological $100 per share barrier since early November.

    Inktomi shares were 10 points higher at 137 in midday trading today, and peaked as high as 146.75 during the day.

    Many Internet companies, including Yahoo, Excite, and Amazon, announced stock splits this summer. Companies often split their shares to keep retail investors, who are especially fond of Internet stocks, from being priced out of the market.

    "When you split the shares, you put the stock back in the reach of more investors," said Inktomi chief executive Dave Peterschmidt.

    He added that, as an infrastructure company that provides the "meat and potatoes" behind the Internet, Inktomi intends to take a "methodical" approach to growth.

    "I'm confident in the way the company is growing," Peterschmidt said.

    Inktomi's technology is used by many Internet companies, including Net directories Yahoo and Snap. (Snap is a joint venture between NBC and CNET: The Computer Network, publisher of News.com.)

    Bucking its recent market trends, however, Inktomi had a less than stellar day yesterday. The shares fell more than 7 percent to 127 ahead of the stock split news, and after reports that Intel may sell more than $18 million in Inktomi stock.