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Sapient surges on 2Q earnings, stock split

    Sapient shares shot up 21 3/4, or 21 percent, to 125 5/8 Wednesday after it posted stronger-than-expected earnings in its second quarter and announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

    In the quarter, Sapient (Nasdaq: SAPE) pocketed $15.6 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $125.8 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the Internet consultant and services provider to earn 20 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $125.8 million in sales marks a 96 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $8.2 million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $64.2 million.

    On Wednesday, WR Hambrecht analyst Greg Gore reiterated his "strong buy" recommendation and predicted the stock would outperform the S&P 500 in the next six months.

    "Revenue growth accelerated on both a quarterly and annual basis for the second consecutive quarter," Gore wrote in a research note. "Operating metrics improved and the company's financial position is strong."

    Company officials said all shareholders of record on Aug. 14 will receive a second share on Aug. 28. The stock also split 2-for-1 in November.

    "We are obviously very pleased with the results for the quarter," said CFO Edward Goldfinger in a prepared release. "Our continued focus on the key financial drivers and operating metrics of the business have paid off in accelerated revenue growth and record cash flow."

    Sapient shares got a spark back in May when it was added to the S&P 500 Index.

    Last quarter, Sapient hurdled analysts' estimates when it posted a profit of $12.7 million, or 19 cents a share, on sales of $100.3 million.

    The stock moved as high as 151 3/16 in December after falling to a 52-week low of 26 1/4 last August.

    All 21 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

    First Call Corp. consensus expects the Cambridge, Mass. company to earn 83 cents a share in the fiscal year.