Pacific Growth Downgrades Ask Jeeves

Analyst Derek Brown says the Internet portal's non-search businesses are weaker than expected

Pacific Growth downgraded Ask Jeeves (ASKJ ) from overweight to equal-weight.

Analyst Derek Brown downgraded the Internet search portal following in-line third-quarter results and disappointing guidance. He believes the company's core search business continues to perform at a fairly high level, so he remains confident in its growth outlook over the near-, and medium-term.

On other hand, Brown says the company's non-Search properties (iWon, MyWay, etc., which it acquired via Interactive Search Holdings), seem weaker than expected due to quarters/years of relative "neglect" and underinvestment. As such, he cut his 33 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share estimate to 32 cents, $1.05 2004 estimate to $1.04, and his $1.60 2005 estimate to $1.40.

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