Why Applied Optoelectronics, Inc. Stock Gained 49% in February

By Anders Bylund Markets Fool.com

What happened

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Shares of Applied Optoelectronics (NASDAQ: AAOI) rose 49.3% last month, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

So what

In January, the fiber-optic networking component maker sent share prices skyrocketing on the release of preliminary fourth-quarter results. February's presentation of the full quarterly report resulted in yet another surge, as the final figures hit or exceeded the top end of the preliminary report.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

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Applied Optoelectronics' rise has only continued in early March, including a 7% jump today on nothing more than a bullish analyst report on head-to-head rival Oclaro (NASDAQ: OCLR).

All told, AOI investors have enjoyed a 125% return year to date and a triple in six months. The fiber-optic networking sector as a whole is bouncing back from a couple of slow years, ready to pounce on the next wave of telecommunications infrastructure upgrades. In particular, cellular network operators are preparing to roll out another generation of high-speed networking standards, requiring a lot of additional fiber-optic capacity to be added on the back-end of those hyper-connected cell towers.

AAOI data by YCharts.

The orders are already pouring in. Applied Optoelectronics may be looking back at a massive share price surge, but the stock still trades at a fairly cheap 14 times forward earnings.

This rally could keep going for a while.

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Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.