Bottom Fishing For Networking Stocks

First came the euphoria. Then the tumble. Companies that provide the gear used in constructing the nation's high-speed information networks are bloodied and bruised. Many are trading at less than half their 52-week highs. Overall, the GTSI Multimedia Networking Index, a basket of two dozen stocks that had surged to a high of 122 in late January, has since fallen to 98. Why the plunge? For one thing, a number of networking companies have reported so-so earnings. Moreover, investors are worried that the two industry giants--Cisco Systems and 3Com--will squeeze smaller rivals. Indeed, 3Com on Feb. 26 announced plans to gobble up U.S. Robotics.

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