Image source: Joy Global. 

What: Shares of Joy Global (NYSE:JOY), a global leader in high-productivity mining solutions, are soaring 20% higher despite a worse-than-expected loss during its first-quarter results.

So what: Joy Global's first quarter was indicative of tough market conditions with bookings of $550 million, down 21% from the prior year. Net sales checked in at $526 million, down a similar 25% from the prior year and just missing analyst estimates of $528 million. The company's adjusted loss per diluted share was $0.23, compared to earning $0.29 during the prior year and below estimates of a loss of $0.12 per share.

"I am very proud of the resiliency of the Joy Global team. These market conditions require tough, decisive action on costs and our team continues to deliver on this challenge while remaining intensely focused on helping our customers solve their toughest operational challenges. The ultimate result of these actions will make us a stronger company that is able to respond to both current and future demand." said President and CEO Ted Doheny in a press release.

One bright spot was that, despite the earnings loss, the company managed to generate cash from operations of $109 million, which was up $127 million from the prior year.

Now what: Personally, I'm surprised to see the stock shooting up as high as it is today, despite the bounce not being huge in the grand scheme of the stock's past year.

JOY Chart
JOY data by YCharts.

Perhaps one of the largest reasons for the stock's gain Thursday is that investors are anxiously waiting on the sidelines for a bullish reason to scoop up shares of Joy Global or its competitors, and the fact that Joy Global didn't cut its profit and revenue forecasts signals a better second half of 2016 and a potential bottom in the near term. 

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.