Stock Watch: Continues Decline

The initial public offering of business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce software company webMethods (Nasdaq: WEBM) got off to a scorching start on Friday, recording one of the top first-day performances in history by closing up a stunning 177-5/8 to 212-5/8. The 507.5 percentage gain was the best first-day performance in 2000, and the fourth-best first-day performance of all-time. What makes this performance even more impressive is that webMethods priced its 4.1-million-share IPO at $35 a share, more than triple the original range of $11 to $13.

Investors are viewing webMethods, which develops XML-based software that helps companies manage their supply chain, as a leader in the red-hot business-to-business sector. The company has partnerships with industry leaders including Dell Computer (which is an investor in and customer of webMethods), Microsoft, Oracle, Ariba, SAP and EDS. WebMethod’s IPO success also reinforces Dell’s position as an emerging venture capital force. Like many older technology companies such as Intel, Dell is benefiting greatly from its investments in Internet companies.

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