About.com beats Street in second quarter

'Gaining ground' is the name of the game for Internet directory About.com, posting a smaller-than-expected loss Wednesday

About.com posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its second quarter Wednesday, losing $5.9m, or 33 cents a share, on sales of $20.1m.

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

Ahead of the earnings report, About.com shares closed off 3 1/2 to 28 1/4.

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

"Our ability to generate great revenue growth and narrowing losses points to the strength of our model, execution and distinctive competitive position," said chief executive 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 $7.5m, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $15.8m.

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

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