Analyst Confidence Lifts InfoSpace

InfoSpace (Nasdaq: INSP) gained 2 1/2 to 9 1/8 Wednesday following reports that an analyst repeated a strong buy rating on the stock after uncovering a deal the company has with American Express.

According to wire reports, Wedbush Morgan analyst Scott Sutherland said that InfoSpace’s IQShopper software is being used to power American Express’ ShopAmex portal. The companies had not put out press releases announcing the deal.

InfoSpace, a Bellevue, Washington-based company that provides merchant and consumer Internet infrastructure services, said earlier this month that it expects to meet its revenue and earnings targets for the fourth quarter. The company expects revenue of US$66 million and pro forma net income of $4.9 million.

“InfoSpace continues to experience momentum across all of our areas of focus, and we remain very confident with the financial guidance we have previously provided,” InfoSpace chief executive officer Arun Sarin said.

In addition to the reported AmEx deal, InfoSpace recently announced new or expanded relationships with companies including Cingular Wireless, ALLTEL, Cincinnati Bell, Powertel, OmniSky, Lucent Technologies, Compaq and Microsoft. The company also works with Intel, Verizon Wireless, National Discount Brokers and Bloomberg LLC, among others.

In the third quarter, the company blew past analyst expectations for revenue and income, posting pro forma net income of about $9.5 million on revenue of $57.7 million.

A number of wireless deals helped power results, Sarin said at the time. The company, he said, is “better positioned than ever” to take advantage of growth in the merchant, broadband and wireless consumer services markets.

Company shares, however, are trading well below their 52-week high of 138 1/2.

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