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Plucky Brits go gunning for eBay

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QXL saw shares dip slightly today after an analyst's tip yesterday sent prices soaring. The UK online auctioneer saw its share price more than double to 606 pence, up on Wednesday's close of 280 pence. At one point the dotcom's shares leapt as high as 800 pence on the London Stock Exchange – with 54 million shares traded in QXL in London by 4.05pm GMT. The individual behind this frenzy was Thomas Bock, a new analyst for brokerage SG Cowen, who put a strong "buy" recommendation on QXL and tipped it as Europe's answer to eBay. Bock predicted QXL would be worth as much as the US online auction house in two years by comparing it to eBay's current stock market worth of $25 billion, giving it a £44 two-year price target. The company's shares had been adjusted on Thursday after it announced a 3-for-1 stock split. "We believe the QXL.com story represents a unique combination of large market opportunity, defensibility, first-mover advantage, and attractive business model," Bock said in a research note to clients, Reuters reported. "If QXL.com does hold on to its leading position during that time frame and over the longer term successfully expands beyond Europe, then we believe that, due to the size of the potential market, QXL.com could actually achieve valuations in excess of $25 billion," wrote Bock. Bock's comments came amid a general rallying of British technology stocks, following weeks of fears that bubbles were bursting all over the dotcom economy. QXL's share price was down 36 pence at 570 pence this afternoon. ® Related stories: QXL losses up, sales down and heading in the right direction QXL buys Norwegian auction site Carry on Falling – Lastminute shares

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