Oracle reported quarterly profit above Wall Street expectations as the world's No. 2 business software maker posted an unexpected increase in sales of its computer programs.
The news stoked hopes that technology spending is on the mend after it collapsed a year ago in the recession. Oracle, which reports earnings a month ahead of its peers, is seen as a bellwether for the industry because of its size.
The software giant said it earned 39 cents a share excluding one-time items in its fiscal second quarter, compared with 34 cents a share this time last year.
Sales for the most recent quarter reached $5.86 billion, up from $5.69 billion in the same period last year.
Analysts who follow the company projected that Oracle would earn 36 cents a share on a topline of $5.69 billion.
Shares of Oracle leaped about 4 percent in extended trading Thursday. The company's stock finished the regular session about 1 percent lower at $22.88.
Sales of new software licenses during the second quarter ended Nov. 30 rose 2 percent from a year earlier. Three months ago, the company forecast that they would be flat to down 10 percent.
Investors focus on new software sales because they are a forward indicator of Oracle's profit. Customers generally sign maintenance contracts when they buy software, which locks in predictable, recurring revenue.