Electronics manufacturing veteran Jabil (NYSE:JBL) reported earnings early Tuesday morning, covering the first quarter of fiscal year 2020. The company beat analyst expectations across the board and issued guidance targets generally ahead of the current Street view. Investors embraced the report with open arms, and Jabil's shares closed 6.8% higher on Tuesday.

Jabil's first-quarter results by the numbers

Metric

Q1 2020

Q1 2019

Change

Analyst Consensus

Revenue

$7.51 billion

$6.51 billion

15%

$6.95 billion

GAAP net income

$40.4 million

$124 million

(67%)

N/A

Adjusted earnings per share (diluted)

$1.05

$0.90

17%

$0.96

Data source: Jabil. GAAP = generally accepted accounting principles.

Jabil's first-quarter results were mostly in line with management's guidance and internal planning, except for one surprise to the upside: The company's cloud-computing manufacturing services found plenty of traction with so-called hyperscale customers. These very large accounts pushed Jabil's revenues significantly above expectations, including the top end of Jabil's guidance for the quarter at $7.35 billion. Cloud services is a fairly new addition to Jabil's portfolio, with roughly two years of operating history in the books.

A technician in a white lab coat sits at a microscope, next to a rack full of small circuit boards.

Image source: Getty Images.

What's next for Jabil?

Looking ahead, Jabil's management expects a 5.5% revenue increase in fiscal 2020 as a whole, landing near $26.7 billion. Adjusted earnings should stop in the neighborhood of $3.60 per share for the full year. The current analyst view of that period points to earnings near $3.45 per share on revenues of roughly $26.2 billion.

Breaking down the forecast in more detail, Jabil sees rising sales in most of its targeted end markets. Healthcare and packaging should lead the way in the diversified manufacturing division, with a year-over-year sales target 31% above the tally from fiscal year 2019. In electronics manufacturing, Jabil is looking for a 32% revenue increase in automotive and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. That's good tidings for investors in those industries, pointing to renewed end-user demand or, in the case of semiconductor equipment, a longer-term rising tide motivating investments in that industry's infrastructure.

Is Jabil a buy today?

Jabil's shares have now gained 86% over the last 52 weeks, driven by a steady stream of impressive earnings reports. That's quite a feat, given the uncertainty many other companies have experienced amid macroeconomic tensions on a global scale.

Even after that huge climb, Jabil's stock still looks affordable with a forward P/E ratio of just 10.2. This might not be the best of all possible times to invest in Jabil, but it's a quality business with a tremendous capacity to thrive in a difficult business environment. Buying into a company like that at a fair price is better than betting on merely decent businesses at a discount, to paraphrase Warren Buffett.