What happened

Shares of Gartner (NYSE:IT), a research and advisory company, were climbing today following the release of the company's first-quarter 2020 financial results. Gartner's stock climbed as much as 13% by midday before scaling back slightly.

As of 2:13 p.m. EST, the company's share price was up 8.7%.

Blue and green line charts on a black background.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Gartner's sales increased 5% in the first quarter, to $1 billion, but it was the company's earnings beat that sparked investors' optimism. Gartner reported non-GAAP earnings per share of $1.20, which blew past analysts' consensus estimate of $0.33.

Gartner's CEO, Gene Hall, said in the company's first-quarter press release that his company is "well-positioned to help our clients address the pandemic and the economic downturn. We're managing costs and cash flow, and we will come out of the recession well-positioned to resume driving long term, sustained, double-digit growth."

Other highlights from the quarter include Gartner's net income increase of 261% to $75 million and the company's operating cash flow jumping 57% to $56 million.

Now what

Gartner updated its guidance for full-year 2020, lowering its revenue estimate from the previous $4.6 billion to the current $3.8 billion.

Additionally, the company expects adjusted earnings for the full year to come in at $3.00 per share, down from the previous guidance of $4.06.

Investors should remember that despite the earnings beat in the first quarter, Gartner is facing uncertain times just like every other company is right now. This means investors shouldn't be surprised if Gartner's share price fluctuates in the near term based on coronavirus-related news.

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.