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Ask Jeeves tops estimates in second quarter

Ask Jeeves Inc. (Nasdaq: ASKJ) posted a narrower-than-expected loss in its second quarter Wednesday, losing $9 million, or 42 cents a share, on sales of $2.7 million.

First Call consensus pegged the search engine site for a loss of 45 cents a share in the quarter.

Its shares closed up 2 1/2 to 44 1/16 ahead of the earnings report.

In the year-ago quarter, Ask Jeeves lost $573,000, or 9 cents a share, on sales of only $35,000.

In June, the stock got off to a fantastic start in its initial public offering, soaring up to a high of 77 13/16.

"This quarter's results reflect the growth of our question answering services for both consumers and corporations," said CEO Rob Wrubel in a prepared release. "We believe that our approach to Web interaction continues to make the Internet a much more usable place for consumers and a more effective way for companies to realize the commercial potential of their Web sites."

Ask Jeeves shares fell to a low of 40 in late June.

Both analysts following the stock maintain a "buy" recommendation.

First Call consensus expects it to lose $1.46 a share in the quarter.