Progress Software Corp.'s earnings quadrupled during the business software maker's latest quarter, exceeding analysts' projections.

The pleasant surprise announced Wednesday helped lift Progress Software's stock by nearly 4 percent in extended trading. If the shares follow the same trajectory in Thursday's regular trading, the stock will hit a new 52-week high.

The Bedford, Mass., company earned $24.8 million, or 46 cents per share, during its fiscal third quarter — a three-month period ending Aug. 31. That compared to net income of $5.8 million, or 9 cents, per share at the same time last year.

If not for certain items unrelated to its ongoing business, Progress Software said it would have earned 27 cents per share. That figure topped the average estimate of 24 cents per share among analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue for the period edged up by 4 percent from last year to $77.6 million, about $900,000 above analysts' forecast.

Sales of the company's software licenses increased by 13 percent from last year. Investors closely watch the growth of new software licenses because they produce future revenue from maintenance and other services.

If currencies remain stable, Progress Software predicted its revenue for the current quarter ending in November will rise by 4 percent to 6 percent from last year. That would translate into revenue ranging from $94.9 million to $96.7 million. The average analyst estimate for the period had called for revenue of $87.7 million.

Progress Software's stock gained 95 cents to $26.35 in extended trading. The shares have ranged from $17.45 to $26.03 during the past year.