What happened

Shares of Nordic American Tankers (NYSE:NAT) jumped as much as 12.5% in trading Thursday, after the company reported first-quarter 2019 results. Shares ended the day up 10.8%, adding to yesterday's gains.

So what

Investors are still cheering outstanding results in the company's first quarter -- revenue jumped from $29.6 million a year ago to $53.6 million, and a net loss of $19.7 million turned into a profit of $5.6 million, or $0.04 per share. Analysts were only expecting $49.8 million in revenue, and breakeven results on the bottom line.

A large oil tanker in open water

Image source: Getty Images.

Most of Nordic American's fleet is in the spot market, which has allowed the company to take advantage of strong demand recently. Management expects the positive trends to continue, and 2019 should be a better year than 2018 was.

Today, the overall market is up, on hopes that a trade war brewing between the U.S. and China won't be as bad as feared. That's helping a company like this that trades in energy commodities.

Now what

An earnings beat is often enough to push a stock higher, and that's exactly what we're seeing with Nordic American over the last two days. What investors will need to watch is the spot market for tankers; there are tailwinds right now from strong global energy demand and tight supply, but those can shift at a moment's notice. As it stands now, this is one company performing much better than expected in the oil market.

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.