Unisys shares jump 30%, back to summer lows

Unisys Corp., in Blue Bell, led a list of public companies in the region that are better off since the bull market started two years ago.

Shares of Unisys Corp., the Blue Bell computer company that still employs more than 23,000 engineers, technicians and salespeople after years of outsourcing and asset sales, led the New York Stock Exchange this morning, rising $6, or 30%, to trade above $26 a share.

It's the highest Unisys has traded... since July, and still $15 below its February high. 

What happened? Unisys' private-sector sales rose 14%, the company said in last night's quarterly earnings report, as more companies bought software for its ClearPath mainframe systems and end-user outsourcing to clients including Marriott and the state of Pennsylvania.

Private-sector sales more than made up for the drop-off from a terminated Transportation Security Administration contract.

Unisys boosted its profit margin to 11%, from 8% a year ago. That's not spectacular, but it is unexpected, and that's what it takes to move stocks in this market, where profits have become commonplace, but investors have stopped expecting growth, and get over-excited by any positive surprise.