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September 15, 2006, 5:55 pm
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Google gains on traffic rise; boardroom shuffle hits Time Warner
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By Ben Charny, MarketWatch
Last Update: 10:38 AM ET Sep 15, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Shares of leading Internet companies
began trading Friday mostly on the upside, with Google Inc. gaining on
news its U.S. market share has stabilized, and Time Warner Inc. shares
were up after it announced an AOL management shuffle.
The positive start to the day pushed the Dow Jones Internet Index
(DJI_DJINET : news, chart, profile ) up as high as 1.1% to 91.34, while
the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPQ : news, chart,
profile ) gained 0.6% to 2,242.13.
Google (GOOG : news, chart, profile ) shares were trading up 0.8% to
$407.34 following a new assessment from HitWise, the Internet traffic
monitor, that Google's market share has begun to climb again in
September, reversing a downward market share trend this summer.
The latest HitWise figures show Google's share of the U.S. Internet
search market is back over 60%, reversing the slide below the benchmark
figure in July and August.
Meanwhile, shares of Time Warner Inc. (TWX : news, chart, profile )
began the day up 0.4% to $16.96 after news of a shake-up in the
boardroom that involves the departure of longtime Vice Chairman Ted
Leonsis, who has been with AOL since 1993.
Among the other bellwethers, shares of eBay Inc. (EBAY : news, chart,
profile ) slipped 0.3% to trade as low as $28.15. Earlier in the day,
Pacific Crest Securities analyst Steve Weinstein noted that growth in
the number of listings at the auction site has been slowing over the
last three weeks.
That's an ominous sign for 2007, he wrote. "A slowing listings growth
makes us more cautious about 2007," he wrote in a note to clients.
He adds, in the note, that the slowing growth may mute any potential
upside eBay will experience based on its new relationship with Yahoo
Inc. (YHOO : news, chart, profile ) and Google
Among other Internet firms on the move Friday, shares of VeriSign Inc.
(VRSN : news, chart, profile ) gained 5% to trade as high as $21.76
after the operator of the .com registry was upgraded to outperform,
from sector perform, by RBC Capital Markets.
Analyst Robert Breza wrote that VeriSign's recent decision to sell a
majority share of its Jamba/Jamster business removes "an often hard to
predict" revenue stream. Meanwhile, he expects the firm to increase the
costs of registering Internet domains by about 7% next months, which
will boost revenues.
"We would not be surprised if 2007 earnings per share exceed $1.20,
supporting a price target of $25 a share," he noted.
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