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What: Shares of industrial parts and systems builder Actuant (NYSE: ATU) worked their way to a 15.3% intraday gain on heavy volume, then fell back to a still-impressive 7.3% increase.

So what: In this morning's first-quarter report, Actuant beat earnings estimates by 16% on a 4% positive sales surprise. Management followed up by guiding the rest of the year somewhat above Street consensus.

Now what: The company enjoyed at least 12% year-over-year sales growth in its energy and industrial segments, followed by 7% higher core sales in electrical equipment and flat sales of engineered products. The strongest-performing divisions also happen to have the highest profit margins, which is great news for the bottom line. The market is taking this performance as a show of strength from Actuant rather than a sector-boosting improvement in end markets -- rivals Eaton (NYSE: ETN), Kennametal (NYSE: KMT), and Parker Hannifin (NYSE: PH) are trading in line with the generally weak market today rather than jumping sky-high. Fun fact: every company mentioned in this story is a five-star CAPS stock (out of five). This might be the perfect time to invest in industrial machinery.

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