What: Shares of Windstream Holdings (OTC:WINMQ) rose 13% in April 2016, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. There was no magic moment in this market-beating month that unlocked all this extra value, just another handful of business-as-usual execution that helped the stock climb back from yet another unreasonable pullback in March.
So what: Two fairly standard business moves pushed Windstream's shares higher in the middle of April.
First, the regional telecom rolled out Infinera (NASDAQ:INFN) Cloud Xpress interconnects between its data centers in the Chicago area, boosting the effective range and available bandwidth for business-class customers in the region. Windstream plans to install Infinera's connectors in other regions later this year, enabling high-speed software defined networking between far-flung data centers.
Then, Windstream opened up Internet-based cable TV services in Sugar Land, Texas, setting up a showdown with incumbent cable provider Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) in that market. The fiber-powered service comes in a variety of bundles, and can be paired with a gigabit Internet plan.
The stock surged 13% in a matter of days, following these announcements. Windstream never looked back.
Now what: There is nothing incredibly unusual about either one of these announcements, but they do show where Windstream is headed. The company is laser-focused on business-class sales, and implementing those Infinera interconnects across its major markets will go a long way toward serving enterprise and small business clients better.
The TV service in Sugar Land is less of a strategic landmark, but it's good to see Windstream measuring up against larger rivals like Comcast every now and then. Now, Comcast already offers high-speed fiber connections in the Sugar Land area, topping out at 2 gigabits per second. The presence of another gigabit option will keep the cable giant on its toes, and may end up lowering costs for local consumers -- and Comcast's Texan profits.
Again, nothing dramatic about this April surge. Windstream shares keep plunging for no good reason, then slowly climbing back up again. Investors seem unsure how to handle this stock since it split off its hardware assets into a separately traded REIT structure, almost exactly one year ago.