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InfoSpace delivers upside surprise in 1Q

InfoSpace posted a surprise profit in its first quarter Wednesday, earning $1.9 million, or a penny a share, on sales of $19 million.

First Call Corp. consensus predicted the provider of infrastructure for Web sites and wireless devices would lose 6 cents a share in the quarter.

InfoSpace (Nasdaq: INSP) shares finished off 61/64 to 64 3/64 ahead of the earnings report.

The $19 million in sales marks a dramatic 260 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $5.3 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $5.3 million.

Including special items, InfoSpace reported a loss of 38 cents a share in the quarter.

"The market for InfoSpace's services reminds me of the cellular market in the mid-eighties," said CEO Arun Sarin in a prepared release. "We knew it was going to be big, but we had no idea how big -- and were continually astounded when subscriber growth far outpaced industry projections, quarter after quarter."

Last quarter, InfoSpace hurdled Street estimates, earning $5 million, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $14.4 million.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 138 1/2 in March after falling to a low of 8 13/16 in September. It also split 2-for-1 earlier this month.

All 10 analysts tracking the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

First Call Corp. consensus expects it to lose 20 cents a share in the fiscal year.