IntercontinentalExchange was the toast of Wall Street on Wednesday after shares in the energy and commodities exchange rocketed more than 50 per cent in its stock market debut.

ICE’s shares jumped from their initial public offering price of $26 to $39.25, adding $212m to the group’s coffers.

The stock’s dramatic opening followed a similarly strong market debut by CBOT, which operates the Chicago Board of Trade. Shares in CBOT, which have more than doubled in price since its October debut, fell 1.3 per cent to $113.16.

But the frenzy around ICE failed to filter to the wider market and the three main indices spent the day hovering around their Tuesday closing levels. Even strong quarterly results and tame inflation data failed to bring out the buyers as investors held tight to their gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.1 per cent, or 11.68 points, lower at 10,668.91. The S&P 500 edged up 0.2 per cent or 2.2 points to 1,231.21. The Nasdaq Composite index added 0.1 per cent, or 1.19 points, to 2,187.93.

Energy was the top-performing industry group. The sector rose 2 per cent after crude prices climbed back above $57 a barrel. Its gains were mitigated, however, by the auto sector, which dropped 2.1 per cent after General Motor plunged 5.7 per cent to $21.32. It has now fallen more than 22 per cent over the last seven sessions.

Tyco International was a focus of trading after the scandal-hit conglomerate said it was considering a break-up in a bid to increase shareholder value. The stock rose 4 per cent to $28.50 in reaction. It was further boosted by news of a 50 per cent increase in fiscal fourth-quarter net income.

American Express also got traders talking. Shares in the Dow component dropped 1.7 per cent to $50.08 after its chief executive said analysts’ fourth-quarter profit forecasts are “far too high”.

On the Nasdaq, Google moved closer to the $400 mark after it unveiled Google Base - a new service which would help users publish items such as recipes and job listings in a searchable database. Shares rose 1.4 per cent to $398.15.

Rival search engine Yahoo was also in demand, climbing 6.4 per cent to $40.04. Its shares rose after the company announced plans to revamp the internet shopping branch of its business.

Apple Computer rose 4.3 per cent to $64.95 after Bear Stearns raised its price target for the stock, citing widened product range for the iPod and consumer demand.

Shares in Gilead, inventor of Tamiflu, rose 7.7 per cent to $55.63 on news that it had settled its dispute with Swiss drugmaker Roche, the main producer of the drug.

On the earnings front, a weak growth forecast sent network systems company Blue Coat Systems tumbling 19 per cent to $39.53.

Retailers, led by bookseller Borders, fared better. Borders reported a loss for the third quarter, but it was not as bad as expected. Its shares gained 4.9 per cent to $22.66.

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