Why Ultra Clean Holdings, Inc. Shares Popped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Ultra Clean Holdings (NASDAQ: UCTT  ) rose more than 10% Wednesday after the company turned in better-than-expected fourth quarter results and solid forward guidance.

So what: Quarterly revenue rose 40.2% year-over-year to $126.3 million, which translated to net income of $0.22 per diluted share. However, excluding pre-tax amortization charges of $1.5 million associated with Ultra Clean's AIT merger, the company would have reported net income of $0.26 per diluted share.

Analysts, on average, were looking for earnings of $0.24 per share on sales of $125.68 million.

Now what: Going forward, Ultra Clean expects current-quarter revenue to be in a range of $135 million to $140 million, with earnings per share in the range of $0.25 to $0.28. Excluding AIT-related amortization costs, earnings per share are expected to range from $0.28 to $0.31. By contrast, analysts were only modeling first quarter earnings of $0.22 per share on sales of $122.4 million.

As it stands, with shares currently trading at just 0.8 times last year's sales and only 11 times this year's expected earnings, Ultra Clean looks like a pretty attractive bet even after today's pop. If the company can maintain its momentum and keep pushing margins and earnings upward, there's no reason the stock shouldn't still be able to reward patient long-term investors from here.

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