If you want to know what the weather is like, you'll check whether it's raining right now. For a climate report, you'd check out average temperatures and the hundred-year probability of a thunderstorm in early March.
The difference between weather and climate is similar to the difference between trading and investing. You can make a fortune by taking the long-term climate view when short-term traders panic over a temporary change in the weather. I base my CAPScalls on the climate and not the weather, as you'll see when I remind you of a few calls in the next few paragraphs.
Optical networking specialist Finisar
Finisar's shares have taken a 20% haircut over the last year. The numbers make it all seem totally fair.
But then you're forgetting that Finisar works in a very cyclical industry. It's raining right now, mainly because major telecom customers aren't particularly busy investing in their optical backhaul networks at the moment. With the 4G LTE rollouts in full swing, AT&T
This reality has punished optical networkers across the spectrum. While Finisar's year-long swoon may seem harsh, rivals JDS Uniphase
But like a sudden springtime thunderstorm, this too shall pass. Optical networking is the key to high-speed data transfers. Finisar Chairman Jerry Rawls expects the backhaul investments to catch fresh tailwinds soon enough: "By the time we have [our new line of ROADM connection cards] finished and designed, carrier spending has to be coming back. The networks are becoming too loaded. They're going to have service-level problems if they don't start upgrading capacity."
That's the climate report: The rainmakers must eventually change their tactics and let the sun shine on this sector once again.
If Rawls is right -- and there's plenty of evidence to support his view -- then this long market slump will be remembered as a fantastic buy-in window on the top optical network stocks. I have placed bullish CAPScalls on all three of the industry players mentioned here, but Finisar is best of breed and the only one to get my "top pick" flag.
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies mentioned. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing naked calls on JDS Uniphase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Check out Anders' holdings and bio, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. We have a disclosure policy.