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Portal Software surges on surprise profit

Shares of Portal Software jumped 7 percent Friday after the company posted a surprise profit in its first quarter Thursday. The company (Nasdaq: PRSF) earned $3.1 million, or 2 cents a share, on sales of $50.6 million.

At 9:57 a.m EST, Portal was up 2 3/4 to 41 3/4.

A survey of analysts by First Call Corp. predicted the telecommunications billing software provider would post a loss of 1 cent a share in the quarter.

The $50.6 million in sales marks a 234 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $5.5 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $15.2 million.

"Performance in the first quarter demonstrates that our business strategy and company fundamentals are solid and are driving the ability to achieve sustained growth and profitability," said CEO John Little in a prepared release.

The company (profile) landed 47 new customers in the quarter, and expanded into the application service provider (ASP) and Net services markets. Portal is partnered with Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO), a shareholder, Nokia (NYSE: NOK), Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Inktomi (Nasdaq: INKT) among others.

Last quarter, Portal Software beat Street estimates when it checked in with a profit of $400,000 on sales of $39 million.

Its shares soared up to a 52-week high of 86 in February after falling to a low of 17 1/8 in August.

All 11 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

Analysts are forecasting a profit of 2 cents a share in the fiscal year.