What happened

Shares of National Instruments Corp (NASDAQ:NATI) rallied more than 13% by 10:45 a.m. EDT on Friday after posting stronger-than-expected third-quarter results.

So what

National Instruments reported $346.1 million in revenue, which was up 8% year over year and beat analysts' expectations by $3.5 million. Driving the revenue growth was a 13% increase in total orders, led by a 21% jump in larger orders over $20,000.

The a futuristic looking console of a self-driving car.

Image source: Getty Images.

Adjusted earnings, meanwhile, surged 53% to $60 million, or $0.45 per share, which beat the consensus estimate by $0.17 per share. Driving the stronger earnings growth was the company's ability to keep a lid on operating expenses, which were flat year over year at $199 million. That margin improvement is due to the company's focus on increasing its operational efficiency to boost profitability.

Now what

National Instruments' strong third-quarter showing keeps the company on pace to achieve its 2018 margin goal. Further, the company sees even better days ahead, with CEO Alex Davern stating that he's "excited by the multi-year growth opportunities we see in areas like 5G semiconductors and electric and autonomous vehicles." Because of that, the company aims to align its sales, marketing, and research and development efforts to accelerate growth in its targeted industries in the coming years.

Matthew DiLallo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends National Instruments. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.