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Palm Power Helps Lift Wireless Stocks

March 01, 2000|Reuters, Bloomberg News

Wireless telecommunications stocks surged again Tuesday, buoyed in part by anticipation for today's expected $736-million initial stock sale of Palm Inc. (ticker symbol: PALM).

Shares of data networking equipment maker 3Com Corp. (COMS), which owns the maker of the Palm Pilot hand-held computer devices, jumped $18.94 to $98, bringing their year-to-date gain to 109%.

Crowell Weedon senior analyst James Ragan said the doubling of Palm's projected price range to $30 to $32 per share from $14 to $16 on Monday convinced any remaining doubters of the deal's strength.

Another analyst said demand for Palm shares recalled the euphoria surrounding the initial public offering of Netscape Communications Corp., maker of the once-dominant Web browser. Netscape ignited the boom in technology and Internet IPOs when the company's shares more than doubled on their first day of trading in August 1995.

"I haven't seen this much enthusiasm for a public offering since Netscape," said David Powers, analyst at brokerage Edward Jones in St. Louis.

Among other wireless shares caught up in the fever on Tuesday were Inc. (SPDE), a wireless telecom system operator, up $11.88 to $20.56; Wireless Facilities (WFII) of San Diego, up $36 to $124 after announcing a contract with Ericsson Mexico; and Telaxis Communication (TLXS), which rose $8.06 to $78.06 after Banc of America Securities started coverage of the telecom equipment maker with a "strong buy" rating and $120 target, calling it "an excellent play on broadband wireless."

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