What happened

In the stock market, there are earnings beats and earnings beats. The first-quarter results published by veteran tech company Unisys (UIS 2.22%) fit squarely into the second category.

Unisys unveiled its first-quarter earnings report after market hours on Tuesday, and it positively crushed estimates. In response, investors eagerly dove into the stock on Wednesday, sending its price almost 26% skyward. That was in sharp contrast to the S&P 500 index, which dipped by 0.7% for the day. 

So what

Revenue grew almost 16% on a year-over-year basis to $516.4 million. Management attributed this rise to license renewals in its enterprise computing solutions segment. The top line was well higher than the $483.7 million collectively expected by analysts tracking the stock. 

Yet it was nothing compared to Unisys's bottom-line beat. On a non-GAAP (adjusted) earnings basis, the company made a dramatic flip into the black, with a profit of $34.7 million, or $0.51 per share, compared to the loss of more than $27 million it reported in the prior-year quarter. The analysts had been modeling only $0.04 per share in adjusted net income. 

Now what

"The first quarter demonstrates our continued focus on achieving operational efficiencies while continuing to invest in the future growth of our next-gen solutions in modern workplace, digital platforms and applications, specialized services, and next-gen compute, and micro-market solutions," said Unisys CEO Peter Altabef in the earnings press release.

The company reiterated its full-year guidance. It believes that revenue in constant-currency terms will decline by 3% to 7%. Its adjusted operating profit margin should be 2% to 4%. It did not provide specific estimates for bottom-line profitability.