Shares of Charleston’s Benefitfocus have big day on the Nasdaq

Shares of Daniel Island-based Benefitfocus were the top gainer on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.

The software company’s stock jumped from the opening bell based on announcements it made late Tuesday.

The shares ended the trading session at $33.82. up $10.85, or 47.24 percent.

The jump came after the company reported a loss of 39 cents a share and revenue of $40.19 million for the fourth quarter. That handily beat the consensus of analysts, who, according to Reuters. had anticipated a loss of 62 cents on sales of $38.45 million for the October-December period.

Also boosting the stock was a $74.7 million equity investment in Benefitfocus from Mercer, a global consulting firm owned by Marsh & McLennan Companies.

That deal was announced in the earnings report late Tuesday afternoon, after the stock market had closed. It gives Mercer a 9.9 percent ownership stake with an option to increase its holdings over time.

Even with Wednesday’s big rally, shares of Benefitfocus remain well below their 52-week high of $72.69.

The company sells cloud-based software products that workers use to compare, sign up for and manage their workplace benefits, such as health coverage. Its primary customers are large employers and insurers.

The company went public by selling shares on the Nasdaq in 2013. It recently completed a new customer service center at its Daniel Island campus, the first phase in a major expansion that could add as many as 1,200 jobs.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.