November 11, 2011, 4:34 PM

Three big losers drag down an e-commerce stock index

The Internet Retailer Online Retail Index fell 5.32% last week.

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Investors did not like what they heard last week from three e-commerce companies and sold off their shares in droves, driving their prices down by more than 20%. Those steep declines pulled down the 25-stock Internet Retailer Online Retail Index 5.32% in a week when the broader market rose modestly.

By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.42% last week and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 0.85%.

Worst hit was eGain Communications, whose shares lost more than 30% during a week in which the provider of contact and customer service software reported a 21% decline in fiscal first quarter revenue compared with a year ago. The company did, however, project a full-year revenue gain of between 22% and 27%.

Jewelry e-retailer Blue Nile lost its luster to the tune of a 24.5% decline in share value after the company announced the departure of CEO Diane Irvine. Blue Nile also reported an 11.1% increase in third quarter revenue over the same period last year and a decline in its net loss.

The third big loser was online retailer U.S. Auto Parts Network, whose shares fell more than 21% after it reported Q3 sales up 8.6% from the prior-year quarter. But most of the gain came from the acquisition of JC Whitney.

The shares of two other e-retailers rose modestly following their quarterly financial reports last week. Bidz.com gained 2.2% despite reporting a 6.9% sales decline; Vitacost’s shares gained 1.8% after the online retailer of vitamins and health supplements disclosed a 26% year-over-year gain in revenue.

Overall, only eight of the 25 stocks tracked by the Online Retail Index gained last week. Here are the best-performing stocks last week in the Online Retail Index and the percentage gain in stock price for each:

• Keynote Systems, 4.6%

• American Greetings, 3.8%

• Nutrisystem, 3.1%

• Overstock, 3.0%

• Bidz.com, 2.2%

Here are the Online Retail Index stocks that performed least well last week and the percentage loss in stock price for the week:

• eGain, -30.5%

• Blue Nile, -24.5%

• U.S. Auto Parts Network, -21.4%

• Bluefly, -8.3%

• Shutterfly, -8.1%

The 25 companies in the Internet Retailer Online Retail Index are: 1-800-Flowers.com Inc., Akamai Technologies, Amazon.com Inc., American Greetings Corp., Bidz.com Inc., Blue Nile Inc., Bluefly Inc., Coastal Contacts Inc., DemandTec Inc., Digital River Inc., eBay Inc., eGain Communications Corp., Keynote Systems Inc., LivePerson Inc., Netflix Inc., NutriSystem Inc., Overstock.com Inc., PetMed Express Inc., Shutterfly Inc., Systemax Inc., U.S. Auto Parts Network, United Online Inc. (owner of FTD.com), ValueClick Inc., Vistaprint Ltd and Vitacost.com Inc.

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