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MARKET SAVVY | SAVVY CONFIDENTIAL: A Briefing for Investors

For Dot-Coms, Fundamentals Now Matter

November 03, 1999|Times Staff; Bloomberg News

With "dot-com" investors getting choosy, the fundamentals suddenly matter.

Stocks of Internet companies posting positive earnings--or thinning losses on growing revenue--are rising, whereas many of those spilling red ink languish well off their peaks.

Pasadena-based Internet search service GoTo.com Inc.'s stock zoomed 40% on Tuesday after the company said its third-quarter loss was smaller than expected and revenue surged.

GoTo, which lets companies bid for top listings in its search results, rocketed $22.75 to close at $80. The company went public at $15 in June.

It said late Monday that quarterly revenue jumped to $8.43 million from $185,000 a year ago. GoTo.com is a product of Idealab, the well-known Internet incubator.

GoTo reported a pro forma loss of 18 cents a share, versus 24 cents in the year-earlier period. The company was expected to lose 32 cents. The results "shook those people out of bed who were slumbering through the story," said analyst Lanny Baker of Salomon Smith Barney.

Among other Net stocks recently benefiting from earnings reports:

* Austin, Texas-based Vignette Corp. zoomed 33% on Oct. 21 when it reported a fivefold surge in third-quarter revenue. Vignette, whose software manages Web site content, reached a record $168 on Monday, then eased $1 on Tuesday to $167.

* Naperville, Ill.-based Spyglass Inc., which makes Net software for cellular phones and other devices, jumped 51% on Oct. 21 when it reported a profit of 2 cents a share, versus a year-earlier loss of 5 cents. The stock has since climbed another 51%, despite easing $2.38 on Tuesday to close at $22.13.

* Seattle's F5 Networks Inc. jumped 38% on Thursday after reporting a sevenfold revenue increase and per-share profit of 11 cents, against a 23-cent loss in the 1998 period. The stock lost $2.88 on Tuesday to $149.75, a day after setting a new high.

* Web directory Go2Net Inc. of Seattle got a 19% bump Friday after reporting pro forma profit of 12 cents a share--double estimates. The stock eased $1.38 to $68.69 Tuesday.

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Going to It

Shares of Goto.com, which soared to a record Tuesday, are up 433% from their June offering price. Weekly closes and latest:

*

Tuesday: $80, +$22.75

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