CA Technologies Shares Surged: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of business software maker CA Technologies (NYSE: CA  ) are doing their best to steal some of Apple's thunder today and were up as much as 15% earlier in the trading session following the company's third-quarter earnings results.

So what: Also like Apple, CA blew away Wall Street's expectations. For the quarter, CA reported a profit of $0.65 on revenue of $1.26 billion, which compares favorably to the $0.54 profit and $1.21 billion in sales the Street had forecast. CA cited strong subscription revenue as the main reason its results were so strong. The really surprising news was that it would return about 80% of its free cash flow to shareholders through 2014 -- or in layman's terms, it's increasing its dividend fivefold to $1 annually from its current $0.20 payout. CA also announced a share buyback of up to $1.5 billion.

Now what: OK, I admit it, CA actually became an interesting stock! Based on its current price, CA is going to yield approximately 4%, which puts it in rarefied territory in tech-land. The company is also targeting another 100-basis-point expansion in its operating margins over the next year, which should translate into even healthier bottom-line profits. I like to own companies that put shareholders first, and CA is definitely doing that here. Needless to say, CA is flying high on my radar.

Craving more input? Start by adding CA Technologies to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep track of the latest news with the company.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of, and creating a bull call spread position in, Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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