PRODIGY AND OTHER IPOs SOAR; HELP LIFT NASDAQ.
Shares of internet service provider Prodigy Communications Corp
soared on their first day of trading Thursday, closing at $28.125, an
88% rise from the offering price of $15 a share. The shares traded as
high as $32 in the session. Heavy demand for the issue led to a volume
of 25.8 million shares, allowing the company to eclipse the likes of
Dell Computer Corp and Cisco Systems Inc atop the list of the most
active shares of the day. Meanwhile, in other IPOs Thursday,
business-to-business e- commerce venture VerticalNet Inc closed at
$45.375, up 183.5% from its offering price of $16. And Healtheon Corp,
the web-based healthcare start-up backed by Netscape cofounder Jim
Clark, shot from the offering price of $8 to $33.25 almost as soon as
it began delayed trading at about 12:45 pm. The shares closed at
$31.375, up 292% on the day and the biggest gainer on the market.
VerticalNet took second place on the most advanced board, while Prodigy
held the fourth spot. The three debuts and a strong earnings report
from MCI WorldCom Inc - as well as talk on the Street that Applied
Materials Inc will post stronger-than- expected results next week - led
the Nasdaq composite index to its largest one-day point gain ever. The
index surged 96.05 points, to close at 2,405.55. Overall volume of
Nasdaq stocks was 966 million shares and advancing issues led decliners
2,306 to 1,601.