Nokia has revealed that fourth quarter sales of their Lumia handsets were better than expected, giving the company’s stock a nice boost in the process. A strong holiday season pushed Lumia sales to 4.4 million, a solid increase over the 2.9 million handsets moved in Q3 2012 and the 4 million in the previous quarter.

Looking at all smartphones, Nokia sold 15.9 million units in Q4 2012 which includes the 4.4 million Lumia phones, 9.3 million Asha smartphones and 2.2 million Symbian devices. Net sales for the Devices & Services division stands at $5.1 billion for the quarter while total device volumes sit at 86.3 million units.

Nokia’s press release said they achieved underlying profitability in the quarter as the mobile phone business and the Lumia portfolio did better than expected. Operating expenses were also lower than anticipated thanks to better than expected cost management which is always a good thing. As of writing, share value is up nearly 20 percent following the announcement.

Nokia did warn that seasonality and the competitive environment are expected to have a negative impact on the first quarter 2013 underlying profitability compared to the fourth quarter 2012. This of course is expected as the holiday buying season is typically more lucrative than any other time of year.

It’s worth mentioning that these are all preliminary figures. The Finnish handset maker is expected to report full fourth quarter details and a full year report on January 24.