GeoCities on fire

Despite some really bad timing, shares of GeoCities Inc. were up 14 1/32 to 31 1/32 shortlyafter opening.

Despite some really bad timing, shares of GeoCities Inc. were up 14 1/32 to 31 1/32 shortly after opening. GeoCities had an offering price of 17.

Now the question is whether GeoCities (Nasdaq: GCTY) can hang onto its gains. Technology shares were among the day's biggest losers and Internet stocks are among the hardest hit.

In addition, GeoCities could be affected by Lycos Inc. acquisition of WhoWhere? Inc. for $133 million. With the deal, Lycos gains more registered community users than GeoCities by about a million or so.

GeoCities, which was supposed to single-handedly rescue a shaky IPO market, is waiting in the wings with a $17 a share offering. Prior to today, GeoCities was expected to make a big Broadcast.com-like splash with a first day gain of 249 percent.

Those gains, however, are unlikely. Internet stocks collapsed despite a round of positive comments from analysts. Salomon Smith Barney started coverage of America Online Inc. and CNet Inc. buy ratings. Lycos Inc. and Excite Inc. were started with neutral ratings.

Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) was down 3 5/8 to 90 3/8, Excite (Nasdaq:XCIT) lost 2 9/16 to 43 1/16, Lycos (Nasdaq:LCOS) dipped 5 7/16 to 62 1/2, and America Online (NYSE:AOL) fell 7 1/4 to 105 1/2. Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN) was off 4 11/16 to 116 15/16.

The only Internet stock to resist the fall was Netgravity Inc. (Nasdaq:NETG), which gained 2 15/16 to 19 1/4, or 18 percent, on a marketing pact with IBM. Geocities could buck the downturn, but investors may decide to look at fundamentals in the shaky market. For the past six months, the company reported a $7.3 million loss, extending a $3.6 million loss posted in the year-earlier period, according to a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Geocities performance is likely to affect other Internet IPOs such as CitySearch, also scheduled to launch this week. NationsBanc Montgomery Securities, the lead underwriter for CitySearch, said the company's IPO could be priced Thursday night, but "that could change."