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Red Hat beats Street in second quarter

Red Hat posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its second quarter Thursday, losing $1.9 million, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $18.5 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expected it to lose 2 cents a share in the quarter.

Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHAT) shares closed up 1 1/8 to 25 1/4 ahead of the earnings report.

The $18.5 million in sales represents a 76 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $4.3 million, or 6 cents a share, on sales of $10.5 million.

"Demand for open source solutions is expanding globally across our lines of business, enterprise, small and medium sized business, and equipment manufacturers," said CEO Matthew Szulik in a prepared release. "We continue to execute to our plan of revenue growth while improving our operating efficiency."

On a reported basis, Red Hat lost $15.7 million, or 10 cents a share, in the quarter.

Last quarter, Red Hat beat the Street when it posted a loss of $2.5 million, or 2 cents a share, on sales of $16 million.

The stock surged to a 52-week high of 151 5/16 in January before plummeting to a low of 15 in May.

Five of the six analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

First Call Corp. consensus expects it to post a loss of 7 cents a share in the fiscal year.