Investors were buying's


talk Friday.

PurchasePro's stock climbed, while the


slumped 2.9%, as CEO Charles Johnson Jr. discussed the company's prospects with analysts in New York. It rose $2.69, or 4.3% to $65.69.

Keith Jensen, director of investor relations at PurchasePro, noted that the company is "very comfortable" with Wall Street's expectations for the quarter ending Sept. 30. Analysts expect PurchasePro to report a loss of 32 cents a share, according to

First Call/Thomson Financial


"We only have a couple week's left in the quarter, and we're doing very well," Jensen said.

The company's stock has been smoking lately. After initially shunning PurchasePro as a low-rent B2B operation, investors lately have come around to its story. The stock is up 70% since Aug. 15.

Helping drive it is the fact that PurchasePro's joint site with

America Online


is expected to launch next week. Analysts and investors have eagerly awaited the unveiling of that venture, which should add 3 million users per day to PurchasePro's network. The network allows small businesses to buy and sell supplies over the Internet.

But while PurchasePro will get the first $100 million in revenue from the joint venture, it must pay AOL $50 million over two years. And it has committed $20 million on top of that to develop technology for the project. To put all that in perspective, PurchasePro is expected to bring in $46 million in revenue this year.

In addition, while the stock has been

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called undervalued by analysts in recent weeks, it's quickly becoming more expensive. At Friday's close, it's selling at more than 18 times projected revenue for 2001. That's expensive compared to most stocks, but it's still cheap among B2B stocks.

Meanwhile, PurchasePro continues to tell its story. Along with an appearance Friday at the

Robertson Stephens Internet Conference

in San Francisco, the company also is scheduled to present at a

Credit Suisse First Boston

conference next week Then it'll attend

Prudential Volpe Brown


SG Cowen

affairs during the week of Sept. 18.

At the same time,


, a major conference for business-to-business software companies, will get under way in Las Vegas. Since PurchasePro has its headquarters there, Jensen said the company should have its share of callers during that time.

Those visits could help the company diversify its revenue base.

Office Depot


, accounted for 34% of its $9.5 million in revenue last quarter.

To some, that lack of diversification might be seen as a significant business risk. But for now, investors are just listening to all that sweet talk coming from PurchasePro.