What happened

Shares of NOW Inc. (NYSE:DNOW) took off on Thursday, rallying more than 11% by 3 p.m. EDT after the oil-field equipment distribution company reported strong third-quarter results.

So what

NOW hauled in $822 million of revenue during the third quarter. That was $16 million ahead of analysts' expectations and a nearly 18% improvement from the year-ago period while also being about 6% higher than the second quarter. Driving that strong result was NOW's U.S. business, where sales leaped nearly 25% year over year as higher oil prices gave drillers the cash to ramp up their activity levels.

An oil pump at dusk.

Image source: Getty Images.

That strong revenue growth helped drive NOW's adjusted earnings to $0.15 per share. That not only beat the consensus estimate by $0.04 per share but was a vast improvement from the company's year-ago loss of $0.03 per share, as well as the $0.10 per share of adjusted earnings it turned in last quarter.

Now what

NOW doesn't expect its fourth-quarter results to be quite as good, due to the holidays, pipeline issues in two key areas, and the fact that most customer budgets are running low. However, the company believes that's just a temporary speed bump since it sees a growing inventory of wells the industry needs to complete next year that should drive demand for the equipment it distributes. That leads NOW to believe that 2019 should be an even better year.

Matthew DiLallo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends NOW. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.