Piper Jaffray Upgrades InfoSpace to Outperform

Analyst Safa Rashtchy is more optimistic on search-directory services growth in the U.S.

Piper Jaffray upgraded InfoSpace (INSP ) to outperform from market perform.

Analyst Safa Rashtchy says the Internet search company's 37 cents second-quarter EPS beat his 14 cents estimate, driven by the wireless segment, with revenues up 36% year over year. He says he become more optimistic on the growth path of wireless services, given the secular trends of cell-phone usage in the U.S. and rapid adoption of new data-enabled handsets.

Rashtchy notes the search and directory segment margins stabilized this quarter, reversing a trend of four sequential quarters of margin declines. He says this increases his confidence in the search-directory margin structure, and in his estimates.

Rashtchy raised the 81 cents 2004 EPS estimate to $1.07, and upped the $1.20 2005 EPS estimate to $1.40. He upped the $43 target to $44.

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