Stock Watch: Strong Q2, Analyst Upgrade Powers Ask Jeeves

Ask Jeeves Inc. (Nasdaq: ASKJ) gained 4 3/8 Wednesday to close at 21 3/8 after the Internet search service reported better-than-expected results for the second quarter, and an analyst issued a “strong buy” recommendation on the stock.

The Emeryville, California-based Ask Jeeves said revenue for the quarter jumped 817 percent to $25.9 million (US$), while the pro forma loss before charges totaled $17.9 million, or 56 cents per share, against analysts’ estimates of a 56-cent loss. Including all charges, however, the company lost $42.0 million, or $1.20 per share, compared to $11.5 million, or 50 cents, in the same period last year.

Growth was strong across all business segments, the company said. “Ask Jeeves’ leadership in natural-language question answering has resulted in hundreds of companies using our targeting, e-commerce and e-support solutions and our position as the No. 15 Web property worldwide,” said Chief Executive Officer Rob Wrubel.

“As we move into the second half of the year, we are focused on maintaining our business momentum, further penetrating global markets, increasing our market leadership position and managing our growth to profitability,” said Wrubel.

First Union Securities upgraded the stock to “strong buy” from “buy” after the report.

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