What happened

Shares of Littelfuse (LFUS 0.11%), a global manufacturer of circuit protection products, spiked as much as 12% today after the company reported its first-quarter 2020 results. While the sales figures may not look great at first glance, investors focused their attention on the fact that Littelfuse outpaced Wall Street's estimates in the quarter.

As of 3:34 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, shares were up 10.4%.

Image of stock charts moving up and down.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what 

Littelfuse said revenue was down 15% year over year to $346.1 million, mainly due to slowing production and demand resulting from COVID-19. But investors were pleased to see that revenue still came in ahead of analysts' consensus estimate of $336.3 million. The company's electronics segment took the biggest hit in the quarter, with sales dropping 19%. Revenue from Littelfuse's automotive and industrial segments slid 8% and 2%, respectively. 

Investors were also happy to see that the company's adjusted earnings per share of $1.29 far outpaced analysts' consensus estimate of $0.97.

The company ended the quarter with $621 million in cash and $774 million in debt. Littelfuse's management said in its press release that the company has maintained a conservative financial position for years and expects "to come out stronger on the other side of this challenge."

Now what

The company estimated that sales would be down about 20% in the second quarter sequentially, and that its adjusted operating income could fall 45%. Littelfuse noted the effects of the ongoing pandemic as the reason for the declines. The company has also withdrawn its full-year guidance due to COVID-19.