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Viant rallies on surprise 3Q profit; AppNet tags along

Shares of Viant Corp. (Nasdaq: VIAN) soared up 24 5/8, or 35 percent, to an all-time high of 95 1/8 Friday, one day after it blew away Street estimates in its third quarter. Competitor AppNet also saw its stock take off.

On Thursday, Viant posted a profit of $1.6 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $18.8 million.

First Call consensus expected it to lose 6 cents a share.

Goldman Sachs wasted no time giving Viant its stamp of approval, bumping the stock from a "market outperform" rating to its "recommended list."

Since their initial public offerings in June, Wall Street has treated the two stocks as an inseparable pair.

AppNet shares shot up 14 9/16, or 34 percent, to an all-time high of 57 9/16 Thursday.

AppNet will report its third quarter earnings Tuesday. First Call consensus expects it to earn 3 cents a share in the quarter.

Analysts expected Viant to run in the red at least until the second quarter of next year.

The $18.8 million in sales represents a 254 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it recorded sales of $5.3 million.

Gross profit margins jumped from 43 percent in the year-ago quarter to 55 percent this time around.

"Our exceptional performance this quarter was primarily a result of stronger than anticipated demand from our existing client base," said CEO Bob Gett in a prepared release. "After successfully completing initial projects, many of our clients asked us to expand our relationships into multi-phase initiatives."

Viant shares slipped to a low of 18 ? shortly after its IPO in June.

All four analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.