Oracle ( ORCL) surged 12% Thursday on solid profit gains and the introduction of its first-ever dividend.The business software developer bowed to investors and joined Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) and Microsoft ( MSFT) on the big tech dividend list. Oracle says it will now issue 20 cents in annual dividends. The bribe helped keep Wall Street's attention off Oracle's lowered guidance for the fiscal fourth quarter ending in May. Looking ahead, Oracle expects to book an adjusted profit of about 43 cents a share, down from the 47 cents in the year-ago period and below analysts' expectations for 46 cents in pro forma earnings. On a conference call with analysts, co-president Safra Catz said "our pipelines continue to be strong," according to a transcript on SeekingAlpha. Catz cited foreign exchange rates and outlined a broad range for its May quarter sales forecast, calling for somewhere between a 3% decline or 2% increase over the $7.2 billion revenue level a year ago. Analysts expect sales to slip 4.5% in the quarter. After the market closed Wednesday, the Redwood Shores, Calif., enterprise software shop posted an adjusted profit, excluding one-time items, of 35 cents a share, up from the 30 cents in the year-ago period and well above the 32 cents analysts were looking for, according to First Call. Sales for the quarter ended last month were $5.45 billion, up from the $5.37 billion last year and in line with analysts' expectations. Oracle shares rose $1.87, or 12%, to $17.70 in early trading Thursday.