NEW YORK (AP) _ Information technology services company Electronic Data Systems says its first-quarter profit was less than half what it was a year-ago when it recorded a huge contract termination payment from Verizon.

Results still beat analyst expectations, however, and shares rose 6.4 percent, or $1.16, to $19.60 at the open of trade.

Plano, Texas-based Electronic Data Systems Corp. says it earned $62 million, or 12 cents per share, down from $164 million, or 31 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. A contract termination payment from Verizon added $100 million to results in the year-ago quarter.

Sales for the three months ended March 31 climbed 3 percent to $5.37 billion from $5.22 billion.

Analysts, on average, had expected a profit of 5 cents per share on sales of $5.21 billion, according to a poll by Thomson Financial.

"EDS' first quarter contract signings performance was exceptional, particularly in light of uncertain global economic conditions," said Ron Rittenmeyer, EDS chairman, president and CEO. "EDS also got off to a strong start operationally with both earnings per share and revenue exceeding our previous guidance."

EDS signed $5.6 billion in contracts in the first quarter, up 66 percent from $3.4 billion in the same period last year. Contracts included 12 that were worth $100 million or more, the most in any quarter since 2002.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.