What happened

Shares of Opera (NASDAQ:OPRA) rode quite a roller coaster on Thursday, rising as much as 23.6% before settling down to a calmer 6% gain as of 2:30 p.m. EDT. The Norwegian software company's brief spike was triggered by a solid earnings report.

So what

Revenue more than doubled from the year-ago period, landing at $61.7 million. Profit margins tightened up, cutting profits in half at $0.05 per American depositary share. The only Wall Street analyst who offered estimates for this report would have settled for break-even earnings on sales in the neighborhood of $56 million.

A white charting arrow, pointing sharply upwards.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

This little-known company is carving out a profitable niche in some interesting high-growth markets. The Opera News app is finding plenty of traction in important markets such as Kenya and India. The company's own ad platform also promises to reach a large audience in several emerging markets.

"There is a tremendous opportunity to build up upon our leadership position in Africa, emerging Asian markets, and in Europe, and we're moving faster than ever," said COO Song Lin in the second-quarter earnings call.

Opera's shares have now doubled year to date and are trading at a reasonable 21 times forward earnings estimates.