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Tech Industry

Wall St. cuts Netscape's gains

The company's stock falls 1.6875 points, losing some of the 25 percent gain from yesterday's e-commerce and executive moves.

    Netscape Communications today gave back some of the surprising 25 percent gain it posted on Wall Street yesterday.

    The Internet company's stock fell 5.4 percent today, closing at 29.5. The share price had spiked yesterday to 31.1875 as the stock market reacted positively to several company announcements and speculation about deals.

    Confirming speculation that helped fuel that increase, Netscape said today that it has forged an alliance with Citibank, in which the holding company will sponsor the personal finance section of the Netcenter portal site.

    "We have reached an agreement with Citibank for the finance channel on Netscape Netcenter. Citibank will be the anchor tenant," Netscape spokeswoman Jody Kramer said. She declined to discuss terms of the deal, which the Wall Street Journal reported to be worth at least $40 million.

    Netscape has also unveiled a new e-commerce deal with a business unit of Ford Motor.

    Netscape shares gained 6.125 points yesterday, even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite Index retreated. (See related story)

    Netscape announced Sunday that it had tapped former Oracle executive Barry Ariko to help bolster its software sales operations, among other reasons.

    Also, as previously reported, analysts are confident that Netscape will report solid third-quarter earnings when it releases its financial data next week. Much of the optimism can be attributed to the fact that many technology companies have warned of earnings shortfalls this quarter, while Netscape has not even hinted at weak results.

    The company is expected to post a loss of 2 cents a share, according to First Call.

    Netscape's shares were the most actively traded on Nasdaq yesterday, with more than 17 million shares trading hands. The shares have traded as high as 44.625 and as low as 14.875 during the past 52 weeks.

    Like many Internet stocks, Netscape has been down significantly since peaking in July.