What happened

Shares of Qualcomm (QCOM 1.14%) rose 15.8% in July 2020, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The semiconductor giant trailed the market for most of the month until a strong third-quarter report turned the tables on July 30.

So what

Adjusted third-quarter sales held steady at $4.89 billion while adjusted earnings rose 8% year over year to $0.86 per share. Your average Wall Street analyst would have settled for earnings near $0.71 per share on roughly $4.81 billion in top-line sales.

Qualcomm's stock closed 15% higher that day.

A set of dice reads 4G as a hand rolls the 4 over to a 5.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf linked the solid results to the unstoppable march of 5G wireless rollouts around the world. The company is not only a leading provider of 5G-capable networking chips but also a developer of the new standard's core technologies. Other companies need to pay license fees and/or royalties to Qualcomm in order to develop and sell their own 5G solutions.

"We are anticipating the next inflection point in our 5G ramp to start in fiscal Q4, with strong year-over-year growth in revenue and earnings per share, leaving us well-positioned for continued growth in fiscal year '21," Mollenkopf said on the third-quarter earnings call.