Bank systems stocks rebounded last week, as investors' interest in the technology sector overall picked up after some profit-taking earlier last month.
While investors hunted for bargains among blue-chip technology stocks, many publicly held computer systems companies with significant business also rose, particualrly electronic payment services firms, whose shares continued their year-long climb.
Cashing in on Wall Street's growing obsession with firms involved in electronic commerce, bill payment processor Checkfree Corp. successfully launched an initial public offering of 6.5 million shares of common stock Thursday.
Managed by Lehman Brothers, the IPO was priced at the top of the $16-$18 range, raising about $114 million. The stock was originally priced at $14- $16 per share.
About 3.8 million Checkfree shares were offered by the company, the remainder was sold by existing shareholders.
Investors are betting big that Checkfree will profit handsomely as consumers do more shopping and bill paying via personal computers and telephones, analysts said.
"More and more people are getting used to on-line activity and they will be doing more electronic transactions," Renaissance Capital Corp. analyst Kathleen Smith told Reuters. "Checkfree is well positioned to gain from the growth in electronic commerce."
Opening on the Nasdaq market, Checkfree's stock ended Friday at $20 per share.
Banctec Inc. and Recognition International Inc. announced Thursday that the federal government has ended its antitrust investigation and the two banking systems companies are free to proceed with their proposed merger, pending shareholder approval.
Banctec and Recognition, both based in Dallas, will hold separate shareholder votes on Oct. 12, officials said.
Banctec's common stock closed at $21.50 per share Friday, up $1.125 for the week.
Sungard Data Systems Inc. said Friday it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Renaissance Software Inc. for approximately 1.5 million shares of Sungard's common stock.
Renaissance, based in Los Altos, Calif., develops software used by large banks and investment firms involved in the trading of interest-rate derivative financial instruments.
Sungard officials said the acquisition will be accounted for as a pooling of interests, and should be completed in the fourth quarter. They added that the merger should not affect the Wayne, Pa., investment software company's earnings this year.
Sungard's common stock closed at $29.25 per share Friday, down 25 cents for the week.