Out of the soapy residue left behind by the bursting of the dot-com bubble, some forgotten giants are beginning to take baby steps forward. Bellwether Yahoo!(Nasdaq: YHOO) posted healthy third-quarter results and was surprisingly upbeat about the future.

The company earned $0.05 a share for the September period. That was a penny ahead of Wall Street's estimates, reversing a loss registered the year before. The Internet giant saw revenue surge by 50% to $248.8 million. That figure also came in better than expected, though it is still far short of the $295.6 million the company claimed two years ago.

But it's a different Yahoo! now. While a company like eBay(Nasdaq: EBAY) has been able to set its business model on cruise control, the same can't be said for Yahoo! The portal that used to live and die by the ad dollar is now less dependent on corporate banner ads. From its HotJobs.com acquisition to premium-priced email, hosting, paid search, auction, and dating services, Yahoo! has become a more complete company. But will the strong results be enough to thrust the company's beleaguered shares out of the single digits forever?

Why not? The company is now on track to produce record earnings this year. Yes, even more than what made its way to the bottom line back in 2000, when revenue peaked at $1.1 billion. And for top-line watchers, it is looking to match or top 2000 levels next year.

The online powerhouse has already generated $159.6 million in free cash flow so far this year. Along with its $1.4 billion in balance-sheet greenery, a consistently profitable and growing Yahoo! can be like poetry in motion. Remember the frothy days when Yahoo! was fetching price-to-sales ratios in the hundreds? The stock is priced at just six times 2003 revenue projections right now. It's also asking for a little more than 20 times next year's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

"Do you Yahoo!?" used to be the company's marketing campaign. Right now, it might be an even more fitting question for investors.