There comes a time in every investor's life when all you can really do is look at your screen in disbelief, and then swear loudly enough to peel the paint in your office or den. That was me about a week ago, when I saw the earnings release from Silicon Labs (NASDAQ:SLAB), a chip maker focused largely on the wireless communications market -- and a three-time Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection, to boot.

See, I had been thinking about buying back Silicon Labs shares a few days before earnings. I had owned (and sold) the shares before, and thought that the swoon in the price was making them pretty appealing. But when you snooze, you lose, and the stock jumped sharply in response to earnings.

Speaking of those earnings, they didn't exactly represent blowout growth, but they were a fair bit better than some folks (bears and shorts, mostly) who were beating the drum about slowing business in the handset market had expected. Revenue rose 15% from last year and 8% sequentially, and gross margins actually expanded. And while operating income was down as reported, adjusting out the rather considerable stock option expense shows margin expansion in the underlying business as well.

I didn't sell Silicon Labs because I disliked it, but because it got too expensive. In fact, I still very much like this company. It's not easy to be a supplier to companies like Motorola (NYSE:MOT) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK), but Silicon Labs has some compelling integrated solutions, and it's actually one of the relatively few chip companies to see expanding margins. Gaining business and boosting margins while competing against Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN), Broadcom (NYSE:BRCM), and Infineon (NYSE:IFX) merits respect in my book.

I can't say that I'm really all that thrilled by the company's stock buyback announcement, but it should reduce the impact of stock options, and that's not a bad thing. Meanwhile, here's a chip company that's growing, boosting margins, and opportunistically exploring additional growth markets. That's a winning combination, and while I'm still ticked off at myself for missing the first part of the bounce, this is a stock where I'm definitely interested in the possibility of a return engagement.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).