(Corrects that net income rose 12.5 percent, not 25 percent, last paragraph)

Oracle Corp reported quarterly profit above Wall Street expectations as the world's No. 2 business software maker posted an unexpected increase in sales of its computer programs.

The earnings report lifted shares in Oracle by a dollar, or 4.3 percent, to $23.88.

The news stoked hopes that technology spending is on the mend after it collapsed a year ago in the recession. Oracle, which reports earnings a month ahead of its peers, is seen as a bellwether for the industry because of its size.

The company posted second-quarter profit, excluding items, of 39 cents per share, above the average Wall Street forecast of 36 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales of new software licenses during the second quarter ended November 30 rose 2 percent from a year earlier. Three months ago, the company forecast that they would be flat to down 10 percent.

Investors focus on new software sales because they are a forward indicator of Oracle's profit. Customers generally sign maintenance contracts when they buy software, which locks in predictable, recurring revenue.

Oracle's net income rose 12.5 percent to $1.5 billion, or 29 cents per share, from $1.3 billion, or 25 cents per share, a year earlier.

(Reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Gary Hill)