Steady As She Goes

Net stocks generally steadied this week, buoyed by positive earnings reports from bellwethers America Online Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

The Dow was the shaky index, closing down 471.27 points to close at 11251.71 on Friday. The Nasdaq saw gains for the second consecutive week, jumping 4.2 percent to 4235.38 on Friday.

While the titan megamerger of AOL and Time Warner sent both companies' shares all over the place the week of the coupling, last week prices steadied. AOL's shares stayed virtually the same, closing at $65, while Time Warner shares gained 11.3 percent to close at $91.25.

The week's big winner was business-to-business e-commerce company VerticalNet, which received a $100 million investment from Microsoft on Friday. Microsoft says it will promote VerticalNet on its MSN portal and other properties. The deal sent VerticalNet*s shares up a staggering 80.4 percent to $252.06.

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