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|ONLINE AUCTIONS FOR SOTHEBY'S?|
Sotheby's stock price is soaring on news that the high-class auctioneer is moving its sales online. Not the Impressionists and moderns, at least not yet. But the house plans to sell part of the $10-million Barry Helper collection of sports memorabilia via the web in 1999 (and Sotheby's sold some $63,000 worth of rare books in an online sale last June). In a year-end review, Merrill Lynch analyst Mark Miller said that he thought Sotheby's, then trading at 28, could reach 35 in the next 18 months -- and the auctioneer's stock promptly jumped to 38 (as of yesterday, it had dropped to a fraction above 34). Values are skyrocketing in the Internet auction business, the Wall Street Journal reports, with eBay now at over 270 and new issue uBid -- which went public on the Nasdaq exchange at 15 on Dec. 4 -- trading at over 140 as of Dec. 29.
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