Early Thursday morning shares of II-VI Incorporated
There was no particular area of weakness for the quarter, but the company attributed the miss to a "collection of little things" that all together shaved off nearly $2 million in revenue. Going deeper, II-VI proves that not even the highest-tech companies are immune to the effects of commodity moves. Results were affected in part by rising costs of selenium (a metal that is a key ingredient in some advanced electronics) -- selenium has risen from roughly $4 or $5 per pound a year ago to more than $38 per pound recently -- and the company's inability to recapture all of that increase through customer surcharges.
On a more positive note, the company continues to book new business in excess of billings (a rough book-to-bill ratio of 1.14 for the second quarter). Buttressing that notion, the laser space has been doing well of late as companies such as Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation Rofin-SinarTechnologies
Looking ahead, the future for lasers is still glowing brightly. Lasers are increasingly replacing machine tools in manufacturing, and new applications in medicine and consumer goods are continually coming online. Not only are more lasers being used but also they are getting more powerful. These new stronger lasers require more valuable optics, and they consume them faster, a good thing indeed for II-VI.
Despite the sharp decline in early trading, II-VI shares aren't exactly cheap trading at 24 times trailing EPS. While the company believes it can continue to grow at a 20% clip, days like today illustrate one of the risks of high-valuation stocks -- even a minor stumble can lead to a big overreaction. For investors who can accept the risk and want to invest in this growing niche, today's drop might be a good buying opportunity. On the other hand, less risk-tolerant investors looking to play the growth of lasers may want to look at the cheaper Rofin-Sinar shares.
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson holds a CFA and has no ownership interest in any stocks mentioned.