Oracle shares were up more than 7 percent in extended trading after finishing the regular session up 2.79 percent at $15.83 .
Oracle said Wednesday that it would pay a dividend of 5 cents per share, or 20 cents annually, its first such payment to shareholders since the company went public in March 1986.
New software sales fell a less-than-expected 6 percent from a year earlier to $1.5 billion. Analysts had said they were expecting them to decline about 12 percent as the weak economy and currency fluctuations hurt sales.
The drop in new software sales was offset by an 11 percent increase in fees that Oracle collects for maintenance for programs it has previously sold to clients. It generally charges them an annual fee of 22 percent of the software's original cost for help-desk service, patches, bug fixes and upgrades to new versions of its programs.
"They beat on just about every metric," said JMP Securities analyst Patrick Walravens, who has a "market perform" rating on the stock. Neither Walravens nor his firm holds shares in Oracle.
Forecast for Fourth Quarter
Oracle said during its earnings conference call that it expects its fourth-quarter earnings per share, minus one-time items, to range between 42 cents and 46 cents. Revenue for the quarter will be down 10 percent to 14 percent, the company said.
Expectations for Oracle's fiscal third quarter had been dampened because of shriveling corporate technology budgets. Oracle's main business is selling licenses for database software and so-called "middleware," which lets different pieces of software talk to each other, and raking in annuity-like support fees tied to those sales. But corporations have been delaying big-ticket tech buys to cope with the recession.
- Reuters and AP contributed to this report.