Dow Jones launches new index for Net stocks

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INVESTORS WANTING to track the boom in electronic commerce have a new tool. Dow Jones, the US financial information services group, yesterday introduced a new index to track Internet stocks, and the Chicago Board Options exchange will launch an index option based on it.

The Dow Jones Internet Index includes 40 stocks, and seeks to represent 80 per cent of the sector's capitalisation. "The actual number of components may fluctuate as the sector continues to mature," said Dow Jones.

It has two sub-indices: one for Internet commerce, which includes bookseller, broker E TRADE and Yahoo!, the Internet portal service: and the other for Internet services, which includes Netscape, the browser company, and America On-Line.

Dow Jones has calculated historical data for the index, which shows that it stood at about 70 in September and accelerated to nearly 230 before falling back to 170 yesterday.

Meanwhile, shares in Microsoft fell by more than 3 per cent yesterday on concerns about the US technology sector and the outcome of the competition trial. The price has fallen by 17.5 per cent this month.