* Posts Q2 EPS of $0.18 vs expected loss of $0.30 a share
* Q2 sales fall less than expected
* Shares up more than 8 percent in aftermarket trading
CHICAGO, July 20 (Reuters) - United Rentals (URI.N) reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results on Tuesday, sending its shares higher in aftermarket electronic trading, thanks to increased demand for its equipment in what it called “the early stages of a cyclical upturn.”
The U.S. equipment rental company posted a second-quarter profit of $12 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with a loss of $17 million, or 28 cents a share, during the comparable quarter last year.
Sales at the company, which rents its equipment to construction and industrial customers but whose fortunes have been tied most recently to the ups and downs of the non-residential real-estate market, fell 9.4 percent to $615 million.
Excluding one-time items, United Rentals said it posted a profit of 25 cents a share.
Analysts on average expected the Greenwich, Connecticut-based company to report a profit of loss of 30 cents a share on sales of $525.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
In aftermarket trading, United Rentals shares were up more than 8 percent at $11.30. (Reporting by James B. Kelleher, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)