What happened

Shares of Cypress Semiconductor (NASDAQ:CY) gained 33.2% in 2017, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, as the company enjoyed the fruits of recent acquisitions and successfully followed its "Cypress 3.0" strategy of targeting markets growing faster than the overall semiconductor market.

In fact, much of Cypress' gains came early in the year, with shares rising nearly 30% through late March on the heels of its better-than-expected quarterly report in early February. In that report, Cypress showcased significant year-over-year revenue gains from its 2016 acquisition of Broadcom's connectivity business, and strong new cost synergies realized from its acquisition of Spansion in early 2015. All the while, Cypress changed its corporate structure from four divisions to two -- a microcontroller and connectivity division (MCD) and a memory products division (MPD) -- to more effectively target the highest-growth verticals in the broader embedded semiconductor industry.

Small semiconductor chip sitting on top of a penny


So what

More specifically, Cypress had its eyes on the consumer, industrial, and automotive markets, especially relating to opportunities within the Internet of Things -- that is, the trend of adding internet connectivity to everyday things that might otherwise not have it.

But Cypress stock still traded sideways for the next six months or so despite handily exceeding its guidance in each of its next two quarterly reports in April and July, setting new revenue records, expanding gross margin, and growing its customer base by continuing to implement this strategy.

Most recently, Cypress stock resumed its upward march leading up to and following its equally impressive third-quarter results in late October. Revenue and adjusted earnings per share climbed more than 15% and 80%, respectively, including strength across all key markets and 80% growth in Internet of Things wireless connectivity revenue.

"Our customers are relying on us for more bill-of-material coverage," elaborated CEO Hassane El-Khoury, "with approximately 80% of our revenue generated by customers buying more than one product family across connectivity, microcontrollers and memory."

Now what

As it stands, barring an unscheduled update from management, investors will need to wait until early February for more color on Cypress' most recent progress in further penetrating its key growth markets. Overall, it was no surprise to see Cypress investors so aggressively bidding up the stock to near a five-year high in 2017.

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.