) to outperform from market perform.
Analyst Safa Rashtchy says the upgrade was driven by fourth quarter results, momentum in its search vehicle, and the belief that the company will show upside to its 2003 guidance. Rashtchy thinks the Ask Jeeves' destination is an important, increasingly valuable asset as search portals are becoming highly profitable.
He raised the 10 cents 2003 earnings per share (pro forma) estimate to 21 cents, and sees 29 cents for fiscal 2004 (pro forma). Rashtchy thinks his estimates are conservative as Ask Jeeves clearly has a tailwind on its search listing, and with costs already down it is is likely to see accelerating margin improvement.