Applied Optoelectronics: Keep Shorting on Slumping Revenue?


Small cap fiber-optic networking product Applied Optoelectronics (NASDAQ: AAOI), a potential peer of EMCORE Corporation (NASDAQ: EMKR), Finisar Corporation (NASDAQ: FNSR) and Oclaro Inc (NASDAQ: OCLR), is themostshorted stock on theNASDAQ with short interest of 62.65% according to Highshortnterest.com.


Applied Optoelectronics is a leading small cap developer and manufacturer of advanced optical products, including components, modules and equipment. The Companys products are the building blocks for broadband fiber access networks around the world, where they are used in the internet datacenter, CATV broadband, FTTH and telecom markets. AOI supplies optical networking lasers, components and equipment to tier-1 customers in all four of these markets. In addition to its corporate headquarters, wafer fab and advanced engineering and production facilities in Sugar Land, TX,the Companyhas engineering and manufacturing facilities in Taipei, Taiwan and Ningbo, China.


In early August, Applied Optoelectronics shares plunged as the Company forecast results were well below expectations. The Founder/CEO had commented in the Q2 earnings report:

“We are pleased with our team’s continued solid execution in the quarter, which marked our ninth consecutive quarter of generating record datacenter revenue. However, as we look into the third quarter, we see softer than expected demand for our 40G solutions with one of our large customers that will offset the sequential growth and increased demand we expect in 100G. We believe AOI has a leading position in the advanced optics market and we continue to expand within our existing customer base as well as engage with new customers for 100G technologies and beyond.”


In early November, Applied Optoelectronics reported total revenue was up 27% to $88.9 million versusup 27% compared with $70.1 million in the third quarter of 2016 and down 24% compared with $117.4 million in the second quarter of 2017. GAAP net income was $19.4 million versus net income of $17.7 million. The CEO commented:

While our third quarter results were negatively impacted by lower demand from a large customer, we continued to experience solid demand from our other large datacenter customers, especially for our 100G CWDM transceivers, and revenue for our CATV products reached a new record. We remain confident in our leadership position in advanced optics. We are working diligently to diversify our customer base and are encouraged with the customer response so far, which led to nine design wins in the quarter, including three for our 100G products. We also continue to make progress on developing new innovative products and expanding our vertical integration to further extend the gap between AOI and the competition.


Results ended up beating expectations and sent shares back up.

Before Christmas though, BWS Financials Hamed Khorsdan who is an Applied Optoelectronics bear, wrote that “it does not look like there would be much of a turnaround in the slumping revenue Applied Optoelectronics has been reporting lately.”

A technical chart for Applied Optoelectronics shows shares falling below a support level at the $55 level and hovering around a support level near the $40 level:


A long term performance chart shows the recent surge of Applied Optoelectronics and shares now more or less outperforming EMCORE Corporation, Finisar Corporation and Oclaro Inc with the later tow just above breakeven levels:

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