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Foreign Net Shares Gain Big

June 18, 2003|Tom Petruno | Times Staff Writer

Investors who've missed the hot rally in U.S. Internet stocks this year may be looking for a copycat performance by foreign Net shares.

On Tuesday in an otherwise flat stock market the Nasdaq-traded shares of some foreign Net-related companies zoomed.

Gainers included EuroWeb International Corp., a Budapest, Hungary-based Net service provider, which soared $1, or 45%, to $3.20; Internet Initiative Japan Inc. of Tokyo, up $2.41, or 82%, to $5.34; and Hong Kong-based e-business firm Chinadotcom Corp., up $1.56, or 23%, to $8.29.

Another big winner: Satyam Infoway Limited, a Chennai, India-based Net access provider. Its Nasdaq-listed shares jumped $1.37, or 27%, to $6.50.

Major U.S. Net-related stocks, including Yahoo Inc. and EBay Inc., have been among Wall Street's best performers this year, up 92% and 50%, respectively, since Jan. 1.

Some analysts said the action in foreign Net stocks Tuesday smacked of wild speculation, which could be a sign that the market rally is reaching at least a short-term top.

"There are a lot of positives about this rally and a lot of negatives. This is one of the negatives," said Steve Todd, editor of the Todd Market Forecast investment newsletter in Mission Viejo.

Still, he said, if a new market "bubble" is building, there's no telling how much further it might inflate.

Indeed, some China-based Net-related shares started to surge late last year and have since posted gains that far outpace those of Yahoo or EBay. Inc., a Beijing-based Net portal, rose from $2.10 in mid-October on Nasdaq to $10 by Jan. 21. On Tuesday it reached $34.97.

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