What happened

Circuit and power control tech specialist Littlefuse (LFUS -0.20%) outperformed the market last month, as the stock gained 10% compared to a 4% jump in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The rally put shareholders about even with the broader market so far in 2019, although the stock is underperforming over the last 12 full months.

An engineer works on a circuit.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Investors bid shares higher last month on hopes that the company would announce strong first-quarter financial results that might show a rebound in the sluggish operating trends they've seen recently. Littlefuse wasn't able to satisfy those expectations, though, as the company revealed on May 1 that sales fell in each of its three core divisions. Profitability shrank, too, due to weak demand and elevated cost pressures.

Now what

CEO Dave Heinzmann and his team said they expect soft selling conditions for the second quarter, and their guidance reflects those challenges: Sales are set to fall to between $409 million and $421 million compared to $459 million last year. But management says conditions should start improving from there so that the third- and fourth-quarter results begin showing stabilizing demand.