Stock Watch: McAfee.com IPO Nearly Quadruples

Shares of McAfee.com (Nasdaq: MCAF), which develops software such as antivirus and Y2K-compliance programs, got off to a very strong start when the stock opened for trading on Thursday. McAfee.com priced its initial public offering at $12 a share, the high end of its revised range of $10 to $12 after an original range of $6 to $8. The stock opened at 38 and closed at 44 on Thursday, a gain of nearly 267 percent from the $12 offering price.

McAfee.com, a spinoff of well-known software company Network Associates (Nasdaq: NETA), benefits from its strong brand awareness. Antivirus software companies have been in the spotlight recently, with viruses like Melissa and this week’s MiniZip virus making a lot of headlines.

One way for investors who are leery about investing in an IPO that has already seen such a dramatic rise to play McAfee.com is to invest in Network Associates, which still owns 85 percent of the new issue. Shares of Network Associates, which gained 3-/16 to 24-5/16 on Thursday, are well off their 52-week high of 67-11/16.

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