Fiber-optic companies are among the fastest-growing investments in the telecom industry. Ever since fiber-optic cables revolutionized the industry by harnessing the speed of light to provide consumers with faster and more dependable connections, the global demand for them has only increased.
Optical equipment suppliers such as Ciena (CIEN) - Get Ciena Corporation Report , Finisar (FNSR) - Get Finisar Corporation Report and Oclaro (OCLR) - Get Oclaro, Inc. Report are pushing the envelope of fiber-optic technology and driving earnings growth in the process. There are also component-makers such as Lumentum Holdings (LITE) - Get Lumentum Holdings, Inc. Report that deserve your consideration.
The stocks mentioned above are rapidly climbing with significant upside remaining. Over the past six months Ciena is up 26%, Finisar is up 56%, Oclaro is up 69% and Lumentum is up 20%.
These recent run-ups make it even more important to stay with value-generators that have promising future earnings growth and reasonable valuations when compared to their peers.
Analysts expect Ciena, which provides equipment and software for optical networks, to grow its adjusted earnings per share an average of 17% each year over the next five years. The stock trades at a discount to its communications-equipment peer group. Its forward price-to-earnings ratio is 14.6, vs. the peer group's average of 15.4.
The company's strong financial position sets up its share price for further growth if it delivers on its earnings expectations. Ciena has long-term debt of $1.02 billion, which is well covered by its more than $1.05 billion in cash and short-term investments.
We see Ciena's share price breaking $30 within the next 12 months due to the company's discounted forward P/E compared to its peers as well as its growing earnings.
Finisar is a $3.2 billion supplier of optical components for the communications industry. The company has progressed at a rapid clip thanks to its broad product portfolio, coupled with vertically integrated low-cost manufacturing and a balance sheet low in debt.
Finisar's earnings growth and valuation make it a great deal. Analysts expect Finisar to deliver 17.5% annual adjusted EPS growth for the next half decade, which is an improvement over 13.7% from the previous five years. The company's forward P/E of 11.6 means that its stock trades at a significant discount to the communications-equipment peer group average of 15.4.
Oclaro offers a compelling investment opportunity as a component supplier to a broad range of optical and data center markets. The company's fiscal first-quarter revenue increased 54% from the same quarter a year earlier. (The quarter concluded on Oct. 1.)
Investors are best advised to wait for a pullback in the stock after its 177% rise over the past 12 months. Still, with the revenue growth Oclaro is delivering we can easily see its stock breaking through $12 this year.
Lastly, Lumentum Holdings carries the best earnings-growth prospects. Analysts project that the company should report 20% adjusted EPS growth annually for the next five years. Lumentum's high-performance commercial lasers are important for advanced manufacturing techniques and are essential in semiconductor chips, smartphones, tablets, automobiles and appliances.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.