Piper Jaffray Upgrades Ask Jeeves

Analyst Safa Rashtchy says a recent study shows that the Internet search engine remains a meaningful search alternative and is gaining faster than its peers

Piper Jaffray upgrades Ask Jeeves (ASKJ ) to outperform from market perform.

Analyst Safa Rashtchy says research and a just-released study by Keynote System, show that Ask Jeeves is gaining most in increased customer satisfaction and suggests strongly that Ask Jeeves is not only remaining a meaningful search alternative, but gaining faster than most peers.

He notes his latest search usage index suggests the company had the highest gain among other search engines, with an 18% sequential rise in usage. He would be aggressive buyers of Ask Jeeves ahead of Yahoo's earnings per share release next week, which is likely to set a trend for growth expectations in the search market.

Rashtchy ups his 95 cents 2005 GAAP earnings per share to 99 cents and his $32 target to $40.

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