Inktomi Beats Estimates

Internet Technology Company Searches, and Finds, Money
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Internet technology company

Inktomi

(INKT)

, named for a mythical Lakota Indian spider, skittered past analysts' estimates for the fiscal quarter ending Dec. 31.

The company, known for its technologies used for Internet searching and improving computer network efficiency, reported a loss for the quarter of $6.4 million, or 24 cents per share, compared with a loss of $4.3 million, or 25 cents per share, one year earlier.

The

First Call

consensus of five analysts was for a loss of 29 cents per share, with the most optimistic estimate that Inktomi would lose 27 cents per share.

Inktomi was ahead on revenues as well. The company had quarterly sales of $10.7 million, up 343% from the year-earlier figure of $2.4 million and up 30% from its Sept. 1988 quarter. The $10.7 figure surpassed estimates from

Merrill Lynch

analyst Jonathan Cohen, who had expected $9.4 million, and

BancBoston Robertson Stephens'

John Powers, who had expected $9.3 million. Merrill was an underwriter for Inktomi's secondary offering in November; BancBoston Robertson Stephens hasn't participated in underwritings for the company.

Inktomi's stock, which went public last June at $18 a share, closed at 158 1/2 yesterday, up 1 5/8. The relatively quiet day for the company comes after wide swings in Inktomi's stock price over the past few days.

Along with revenues and earnings, Inktomi released another number Thursday night -- the number of Internet search queries that the company handled for sites such as

America Online's

(AOL)

ICQ service and

GeoCities

(GCTY)

. The company handled 1.8 billion queries, up 33% from the prior quarter's 1.35 billion.

Prior to the earnings release, Emeric McDonald, director of research for

Amerindo Investment Advisors

, said he wouldn't be surprised to see a 25% to 30% increase in search queries, which accounted for 50% of Inktomi's search revenues in the company's September quarter. "I think business is going well," McDonald said before the release. "They've got a top management team that's doing exceptionally well." Amerindo is a holder of Inktomi stock.