Shares of Southcoast Financial (SOCB) surged more than 50% Thursday after the Mt. Pleasant, S.C., banking company reported its first quarterly profit in nearly two years.

The $438 million-asset parent of Southcoast Community Bank said it earned $1.2 million in the quarter that ended March 31, compared to a loss of $579,000 in the same period in 2010, as it trimmed overhead by 23% and continued to shed problem assets. Gains on sales from securities and fixed assets also led to a 164% jump in noninterest income, to $906,000.

The results sparked such a run-up in the bank's thinly traded stock that trading was temporarily halted Thursday. The stock ended Thursday's session at $2.20, its highest closing price since early August.

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