Cognizant CEO Francisco D'Souza. Image source: Cognizant.

What's Happening: Shares of Cognizant Technology Solutions (NASDAQ:CTSH) rose as much as 9.5% in Wednesday's morning session before falling back to a more modest 6.2% gain at 12:50 p.m. The early spike set new 52-week and all-time highs for the stock.

Why it's happening: Before Wednesday's opening bell, Cognizant reported results for the second quarter of 2015. The information technology consulting and outsourcing firm saw sales jumping 23% higher year over year, landing at $3.1 billion. Adjusted earnings rose 20% higher to $0.79 per share.

Analyst estimates were set at $3.0 billion and $0.73 per share, respectively. The reported earnings result rose above the highest projections among 23 analyst firms with an interest in the stock.

Compared to the year-ago quarter, sales in the United Kingdom increased 12% while revenues from the rest of Europe edged 2.2% higher. The North American business, which represented 79% of Cognizant's total revenues in the second quarter, boomed 26% higher and the relatively minor "rest of the world" segment raced to 30% sales gains.

Among Cognizant's four target-market segments, healthcare led the way with a 39% revenue gain. The manufacturing, retail, and logistics segment trailed with a 12% year over year boost. Every segment -- geographical and sector-wise -- accelerated their sales growth compared to the first quarter.

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.

Looking ahead, Cognizant's management set revenue and earnings guidance just ahead of current analyst expectations, both for the third quarter and the full fiscal year.

"These results validate that our business strategy and our investments position us well to capture the emerging opportunities as clients look to transform into digital businesses," said Cognizant CEO Francisco D'Souza in a press statement.

At current prices, Cognizant shares have gained 29% year to date and 55% in 52 weeks. The stock trades at 28 times trailing earnings today, the highest ratio seen since 2011.

Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool both recommends and owns shares of Cognizant Technology Solutions. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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