An item being put into cold storage.

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What happened

Shares of Brooks Automation, Inc (NASDAQ:BRKS) jumped as much as 18.6% on Thursday after reporting fiscal first-quarter 2017 earnings. At 3 p.m. EST shares were still up 14.8% on the day.

So what

Revenue rose 33.3% in the quarter to $160 million and the company swung from a net loss of $4.6 million to net income of $13.9 million. Adjusted for one-time items, earnings were $0.25 per share, $0.05 ahead of expectations. 

For the fiscal second-quarter, management expects revenue of $165 million to $170 million and earnings of $0.24 to $0.27 per share. This compares to Wall Street's expectation of $159 million in revenue and $0.22 per share in earnings, so the company is definitely exceeding what investors had priced in.

Now what

Both semiconducturs and life sciences are doing well and that's why revenue has grown so broadly over a year ago. The Life Sciences business was a strength with $33.3 million in revenue and bookings doubling from a year ago, so that's an area we can likely expect more growth in the future. 

Given the current forward P/E ratio and the level Brooks Automation is beating expectations, I think the stock has further to run. Bookings are strong and margins are improving and with life sciences' potential as a growth business this is a strong stock for investors long term.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.