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Dotcom IPOs in the US yielded a massive $702bn in equity value last year - more than half of the sector's total market capitalisation. Last year, web-related IPOs generated 53 per cent of the web sector's combined stock market value of $1.32 trillion, according to a study by researchers Paul Kagan Associates. On average, 1999 web IPOs gained 253 per cent in value.

Of the 309 net offerings 15 returned more than 1,000 per cent. The highest performer, Commerce One, rose by 2,899 per cent. According to Kagan, the worst performer for the year was Value America, down 74 per cent from its April 8, 1999, offering price.

Kagan Analyst and senior VP Larry Gerbrandt said: "As a wealth and value creator, there has probably been no industry or technology which has achieved so much in such a short period of time as the Internet and the web.

"Since America Online went public in 1992, we've tracked 409 Web-related initial public offerings worth a collective $222bn at their respective offering prices. "At the end of 1999, this same group - including the companies they have subsequently acquired and merged with -- had a combined stock market equity capitalisation of $1.32 trillion, an average increase of 497 per cent."

Yesterday, technology-dominant stock market NASDAQ fell 5.6 per cent in new year trading. Terence Lim, head of research at Merrill Lynch, is quoted as saying that "frothy telecommunications and Internet-related stocks are losing steam". ®

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