(Itron earnings story updated for Thursday trading)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Smart grid stock bellwether Itron ( ITRI) trounced the Street expectations in its after-market earnings report on Wednesday, with earnings per share of 98 cents on revenue of $569 million. The Street was looking for 72 cents per share on $500 million in revenue from Itron. Itron shares were up more than 8% in after-hours trading on Wednesday and it's off to the races with the smart grid stocks on Thursday, with shares racing ahead near 10% and surpassing average trading volume within an hour of the market open, with more than 600,000 shares traded. "We are having a fantastic year with record financial results, strong bookings and record backlog," said Itron CEO Malcolm Unsworth. The big earnings beat was a much needed one for the smart grid stock. Itron shares have suffered mightily this year -- down 15%. Last Thursday, in particular, shares slumped 7% after its competitor Esco ( ESE) announced that it was in the lead spot to win a coveted contract from Southern California Gas. The Itron CEO said in the earnings release, "There were some disappointments with recent contract awards in North America. As we look forward, we are actively pursuing a variety of activities to enhance our competitive position in these areas." Itron shares were up more than $5 on Thursday morning, erasing the losses from last week's headline disappointment when Esco announced its negotiations with Southern California Gas. Itron shares had fallen from over $62 to under $55 on the news last week, and on Thursday morning were above $63. North America revenue of $303 million for the second quarter was 112% higher than the same quarter 2009. The increase in revenues in 2010 was primarily driven by higher shipments of OpenWay meters and modules -- 1.2 million -- in the deal that Itron has with Detroit Edison. International revenue of $266 million for the second quarter of 2010 was 2% lower than the same quarter last year, but the depreciation of the euro in the second quarter was the primary culprit. Itron also announced two relatively small deals in New Mexico ahead of its earnings.
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