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Ahead of the Bell: Aspen Technology climbs

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Aspen Technology Inc. surged before Friday's opening bell after the business software company reported better-than-expected results for its most recent quarter.

Aspen said Thursday that it returned to a profit in its fiscal fourth quarter, helped by a sharp increase in subscription and software sales, along with a tax benefit. Aspen's software is designed to help industrial and engineering companies make their plants and supply chains more productive and cut costs.

Aspen's ability to grow despite tough economic conditions is encouraging, said William Blair analyst Bhavan Suri. He rates Aspen "Outperform."

Aspen's profit, excluding one-time items, was 24 cents per share, triple the prediction of analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue jumped 30 percent to $83.3 million, beating analysts' expectations of $78.8 million.

In premarket trading, Aspen shares rose 13 percent to $35.83. If the gains hold in the regular session, it would mark the stock's highest price in more than a decade.