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Tech Industry

Net stocks calm down

After jumping into record territory earlier in the week, Internet stocks settle down, along with analysts' estimates.

Internet stocks headed to the "time-out room" today after a week of wild behavior.

After jumping into record territory earlier in the week, the stocks settled down today. Infoseek and Excite led the way: the former was down 14 percent, the latter almost 15 percent. Lycos was down 11 percent. Yahoo fell nearly 6 percent, while Netscape Communications dropped more than 11 percent.

Analysts thought many of these stocks were getting too pricey, and they lowered their estimates.

For example, Everen Securities downgraded Yahoo to short-term "market perform" from short-term "outperform" on valuation. It maintained a long-term "outperform" rating, however. Volpe Brown downgraded Excite from "strong buy" to "buy," also citing price. Lehman Brothers continued to rate Excite "outperform," however.

The Net stocks were among the biggest losers among technology stocks.

An exception was @Home, which rose 4.875, or more than 15 percent, to close at 36.75, close to a 52-week high.

Other tech stocks were mixed. Despite posting better-than-expected earnings two days ago, Apple fell again today, to close at 27.93. The company still hasn't managed to break into record territory, but it is trading close to a 52-week high.

Sun Microsystems', which reported quarterly profits that were in line with analysts' estimates, was flat. Revenues, however, were below some Wall Streeters expectations.

Bay Networks' stock fell just over 4 percent a day after it posted lower-than-expected results. DLJ, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, Goldman Sachs, and Adams Harkness all cut their ratings on the networking stock.

Dell and Compaq closed down slightly. IBM finished the day up very slightly, and Intel inched up just over 1 percent. Microsoft closed down .07 percent.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq index and Dow Jones industrial average also were up, but by less than a percentage point. Earlier in the week, the Dow reached new highs of above 9,100.

Trading later in the day was expected to be unpredictable because of "double witching," which refers to the expiration of equities futures and options.

Reuters contributed to this report.