Investors craving a piece of the Internet stock craze might get a good amount of exposure by buying into a new idea.
Merrill Lynch's Internet HOLDRs, selling as American depository receipts, are a stock of stocks, so to speak, representing investments in the common stock of 20 companies involved in various segments of the Internet industry. The HOLDRs began trading Sept. 23 under the symbol "HHH" on the American Stock Exchange, according to a spokesman for Merrill Lynch. They opened at 108 on Sept. 23 and closed at 112 on Sept. 24.
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, the broker-dealer subsidiary of Merrill Lynch & Co., has priced about 3.8 million HOLDRs at an aggregate offering price in excess of $400 million. The largest holdings are American Online Inc. (21 shares); At Home Corp. (17); Yahoo! Inc. (13); E*Trade Group Inc. (12) and Amazon.com Inc. (9).
The stocks held are the 20 largest and most liquid Internet companies, measured by market capitalization and trading volume. The actual shares may be purchased on the AMEX or through the Bank of New York, which acts as trustee for the Internet HOLDRs Trust.