Excite stock up, up and away

Shares of Excite Inc. shot up $31.13 per share, or 11 percent, to $31.

Shares of Excite Inc. shot up $31.13 per share, or 11 percent, to $31.88 Thursday afternoon after the Internet search company announced a series of commerce agreements with the likes of AmeriTrade Holding Corp., Datek Securities Corp. and First Auction Inc.

These agreements, which are expected to generate more than $25 million in revenue in the next three years, raise the total contract value deals Excite has signed since early summer to approximately $80 million.

Earlier deals included alliances with Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Onsale Inc. and TMP worldwide.

Volpe Brown Whelan & Co. on Thursday reiterated its "strong buy" rating on Excite's stock.

"Excite's success demonstrates that the advertising model is alive and well in this market," said Derek Brown, an analyst at Volpe Brown Whelan & Co. "Studies indicate that advertising demand is strong and getting stronger. Those sites that attract the most people will get a disproportionate amount of this revenue."

In July, Excite posted a second-quarter loss of $7.9 million, or 63 cents per share, on revenues of $9.5 million. Analysts expect it to report a loss of about 49 cents per share in the third quarter and said the company would probably not post a profit until early 1999.

Thursday's announcements and stock surge come a day after competitor Yahoo! Inc. posted its second-consecutive profitable quarter, earning $1.6 million, or 3 cents per share, on revenues of $17.3 million.

"Excite's position as the No. 2 company in this space makes it a very appealing advertising option for companies doing business on the Web," Brown said. "As the Internet matures, Excite stands to be one of the prime beneficiaries."