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Net stocks take a breather

Internet stocks cool down after a sharp run-up into record territory last week, but then begin an upward climb once again.

Internet stocks took a brief breather today after a sharp run-up into record territory last week that drew widespread attention from the investor community, before beginning an upward climb once again.

In midmorning trading, Yahoo (YHOO) was down 3-5/8, to 110-7/8; Lycos (LCOS) was down 2-7/8, to 61-3/4; Excite (XCIT) was off 1-1/4, to 61; and America Online (AOL) was down 11/16, to 72-13/16.

The stocks later began to climb back up, with Yahoo closing at 113, Lycos at 65-1/2, Excite climbing 6-5/8 to close at 68-7/8, and AOL closing at 73-5/8.

The earlier fall-off occurred even though Lycos and Excite today announced the addition of new features to their Web sites. Lycos launched the "personal guide," which lets users personalize Web content, while Excite said it would offer its own personalized Web portal.

The rest of the stock market also was down in early trading. The technology-heavy Nasdaq was at 1812.64, down 7.6; while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 8942.8, down 52.06. By close of market, however, the Nasdaq was up 4.69 at 1824.93, while the Dow was up 17.44 at 9012.30.

Analysts cited weakness in treasury bonds for this morning's dips, and expressed caution as the first-quarter earning season gets into full swing this week.

Among those technology companies that are expected to report earnings this week: Intel, Apple, Bay Networks, Sun Microsystems, and Excite.

In other business news today, NationsBank and BankAmerica said they agreed to merge, as did Banc One and First Chicago.