Oracle Beats the Street

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Oracle (ORCL) surged to near a 10-year high after hours Thursday upon revealing a stronger-than-expected 30% jump in second-quarter profit, helped by growing demand for software licenses.

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The Redwood Shores, Calif-based company posted net income of $1.87 billion, or 37 cents a share, compared with $1.55 billion, or 29 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding onetime items, the company earned 51 cents a share, ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 46 cents.

Revenue for the developer of enterprise software, including Java, was $8.58 billion, up 47% from $5.86 billion a year ago, beating the Street’s view of $8.34 billion.

Oracle CEO Safra Catz attributed the results to strong revenue performance coupled with disciplined business management. Earnings were fueled by higher software licenses, up about 21% to $2 billion.

“Our new license growth of 21% demonstrates the strength of the company-specific momentum we are seeing,” Catz said. “And our Sun business continues to improve with hardware gross margins increasing to 53%.”

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During the quarter, Sun’s new SPARC Supercluster computer beat the world record for database transaction processing performance, running three times faster than IBM’s (IBM) fastest computer and 7.5 times H-P’s (HPQ) best database performance, the company said in a statement.

Also Thursday, Oracle’s board of directors declared a cash dividend of 5 cents a share, payable on Feb. 9 to shareholders of record on Jan. 19.

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