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Shopping.com shares nose-dive

Shares in Shopping.com plunge more than 30 percent, marking another roller coaster day for an Internet stock.

Shares in Shopping.com (IBUY) plunged more than 30 percent today, marking another roller coaster day for an Internet stock.

The e-commerce company, backed by Net entrepreneur Bill Gross's Idealab, saw its stock plummet to 21-7/8, down 10-9/64, to end at 21-7/8.

The slide comes on the heels of Waldron & Company's decision today not to make a market in the stock. Waldron is one of ten to 12 firms that serve as "market makers" for the lightly traded, "over-the-counter" stocks (meaning they do not get traded on an exchange), said Tom Fehn, a Waldron spokesman.

Fehn said the company decided to stand on the sidelines and wait for things to settle down.

"It was an active market for the past week," he said, adding that the firm will get back into the stock when market conditions appear more favorable. "It is a judgment call based on all relevant factors, [which include price and volume]."

This wait-and-see attitude is much more mild than the firm's decision last week to upgrade its recommendation on the stock to a "buy," after the shares jumped almost 10 percent. Fehn explained that just because a "buy" rating is assigned to a stock doesn't mean a market has to be made in it.

"Think of us as Consumer Reports," he said. "If a refrigerator is rated the best, that doesn't mean you have to go out and buy one, or sell one for that matter."

The firm said in last week's report that Shopping.com has exceeded many of its preliminary expectations by positioning itself as an emerging electronic retailer to consumers and businesses.

Doug Hay, Shopping.com's executive vice president, said the company had more than 300,000 unique visitors to the site during the fourth quarter.

The commerce site has been advertising on the radio, cable television, and billboards all over the country, and Hay said it has no intention of partnering up with other companies to share revenue, as other e-commerce powerhouses, such as Amazon.com (AMZN), have done with search companies.

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