Shares of Take Two Interactive Software Inc surged 8.8 percent on Friday after posting stronger-than-expected earnings that pleased investors.

Shares of the video game maker rose to $12.99 on the Nasdaq.

On Thursday, the company breezed past Street expectations as sales of its hit sports game NBA 2K11 helped it weather a year without a new version of its blockbuster franchise Grand Theft Auto.

Investors think their earnings power is up a lot and their stock is reflecting that, said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. Wedbush raised its Take-Two price target to $15 from $11.

This year marked the first time the company has been profitable in nearly a decade without the release of a new Grand Theft Auto game. … Take-Two's shares have outperformed those of its bigger rivals in the United States in 2010, but the volatile video game sector has turned off many investors in recent years.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)