What happened

Shares of Illumina (ILMN 0.51%) -- the self-proclaimed "global leader in DNA sequencing" -- were rocking Tuesday afternoon, up a solid 9.5% at 12:15 p.m. EDT after the company announced record orders and superb sales for the first quarter of 2021.

So what

In yesterday's after-market announcement, Illumina told investors it expects to report $1.4 billion in orders, up 28% year over year; and $1.1 billion in first-quarter revenue, up 26% year over year. The company also updated full-year revenue guidance to predict that sales will grow between 25% and 28%.  

Sales of sequencing instruments more than doubled in the first quarter, and sales of consumables used for running genome sequences on those instruments rose 25% in the quarter. Management said, "most customers are now [ordering consumables again] at or above pre-COVID activity levels." And it said the core business is "exceptionally strong and growing ahead of our expectations."

Scientists study strands of DNA

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

All of the above concerns sales alone -- Illumina didn't have much to say on the subject of what profits it expects to earn on those sales, perhaps for good reason. According to Yahoo! Finance data, more analysts are predicting that profits will decline 24% year over year in the first quarter.  

Then again, these are the same analysts who were looking for sales to grow only 10% in the first quarter, and now Illumina has told us that it actually grew that figure more than twice as fast.

Translation: When Illumina officially reports earnings on April 27, you can probably expect it to report not just a sales beat, but an earnings beat, too.