- Associated Press - Friday, August 13, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Shares of Autodesk Inc., an engineering software maker, rose Friday after the company reported a surge in second-quarter earnings.

THE SPARK: An improving economy helped Autodesk book earnings of 36 cents per share, excluding items. That came in well ahead of the 27 cents that analysts expected, according to Thomson Reuters.

Revenue climbed 14 percent to $472.8 million, also above analysts’ average forecast of $459 million.

THE BIG PICTURE: Autodesk said sales have improved around the world as economies stabilize. A year ago companies were clamping down on technology spending as the recession pinched budgets.

THE ANALYSIS: Standard & Poor’s Equity Research analyst Jim Yin pointed out that Autodesk is facing relatively easy comparisons with 2009. But he nevertheless upgraded Autodesk shares to “Hold” from “Sell” in a note to clients Friday. He also raised his price target to $29 from $26.

SHARE ACTION: Autodesk shares were up $1.25, or 4.6 percent, to $28.70 in afternoon trading.

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