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About.com gains on 2Q results, analyst comments

About.com shares moved up 4 11/16, or 17 percent, to 32 15/16 Thursday, one day after it posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its second quarter.

In the quarter, About.com lost $5.9 million, or 33 cents a share, on sales of $20.1 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expected the Internet directory firm to lose 39 cents a share in the quarter.

On Thursday, E-Offering analyst Patrick Winton reiterated his "strong buy" rating on the stock.

"Given About.com's strong performance, we are currently raising our revenue and earnings estimates, as well as reiterating our strong buy rating," Winton said in a research note. "About.com's size and vertical niche structure provides advertisers with one of the most efficient and targeted platforms with which to reach consumers."

WR Hambrecht's Derek Brown, who also rates the stock a strong buy, also reiterated his "strong buy" recommendation and 12-month price target of $75 a share.

"While the near-term outlook for online advertising gives us reason for pause, we remain very enthusiastic about the company's unique industry positioning, longer-term growth prospects and extremely modest valuation," Brown said in a research report.

The $20.1 million in sales marks a stunning 443 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it lost $20.4 million, or $1.69 a share, on sales of $3.7 million.

"Our ability to generate great revenue growth and narrowing losses points to the strength of our model, execution and distinctive competitive position," said CEO Scott Kurnit in a prepared release. "We believe that the largest, most established web properties will continue to attract a greater portion of industry revenues."

In the quarter, About.com said 44.9 million users visited its site in June, up from 36.3 million in March. Average daily page views surged to 23 million in June, up 80 percent from 12.8 million in March.

Last quarter, About.com beat the Street when it posted a loss of $7.5 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $15.8 million.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 105 13/16 in March after falling to a low of 19 1/2 in August.

All seven analyst following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

First Call Corp. consensus expects it to lose $1.25 a share in the fiscal year.