Earnings Boost Red Hat (RHT) to 12-Year High

Encouraging fourth-quarter earnings has boosted shares of North Carolina-based software vendor Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) 8.5% in after-hours trading.

The company reported earnings of $36 million, or 18 cents a share, after markets closed this afternoon. Those numbers were an improvement from the fourth quarter a year ago, when Red Hat earned $33.5 million, or 17 cents a share. Its revenue of $297 million outpaced consensus analyst expectations of $291 million, and was 21% higher than the $244.8 million in revenue in the company made in the same quarter a year ago.

Formerly known as the AAC Corporation, Red Hat is most known for selling a software platform called Linux to big-name companies such as Intel, IBM and Dell.

Red Hat is believed to be the first ever open-source software vendor to haul in more than $1 billion in annual revenue.    

After declining nearly 1% in regular trading today, Red Hat is soaring in after-hours trading. With a current share price of $55.54, the tech stock has already blown past its previous 52-week high of $54.01.

The latest pop brings Red Hat’s 2012 gains to 34.5%. The stock began the year at $41.29 a share.

Red Hat shares haven’t traded this high since right before the dot-com bubble burst back in March 2000.

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