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Shares of Pegasystems soar on strong 4Q, guidance

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Shares of Pegasystems Inc. soared Thursday after the business software company announced fourth-quarter results that were significantly better than Wall Street expected and issued a strong outlook for the current year.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company earned $20.4 million, or 53 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.9 million, or 5 cents per share, in the same quarter the year before. Excluding one-time items, the company said it posted an adjusted profit of 65 cents per share for the recent quarter.

Revenue jumped 25 percent to $143.8 million from $115.3 million.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 32 cents per share on $122.2 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Pegasystems benefited in the most recent quarter from higher demand for its software from both new and existing customers.

For the full year, the company earned $21.9 million, or 56 cents per share, up from $10.1 million, or 26 cents per share, in 2011. Revenue increased to $461.7 million from $416.7 million.

The company said it expects to post an adjusted 2013 profit of $1.20 per share on $510 million in revenue, well ahead of average analyst predictions of 88 cents per share in earnings and $477.8 million in revenue.

Pegasystems shares rose $1.08, or 4 percent, to $26.41 in afternoon trading, after initially jumping to $30.35 on the news. Over the past 52 weeks, the shares have traded between $19 and $39.97.