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Shares of Corning Inc. (GLW - Analyst Report) achieved a new 52-week high, touching $20.75 on Mar 27. The stock closed the session at $20.46, reflecting a solid return of nearly 54% over the past one year. The trading volume for the session was 11.8 million shares.

Despite the strong price appreciation, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock still has further upside because of its innovations, particularly in the Gorilla Glass (GG) category.

Growth Drivers

In October last year, Corning announced the acquisition of Samsung’s stake in Samsung Corning Precision Materials Co., Ltd. (SCP), now called Corning Precision Materials Co., Ltd. (CPM). With the help of this agreement Corning recently announced the transfer of GG production from Japan to Korea by 2015. The better utilization of its now fully-owned Korean facility will help improve margins at Corning. The lower costs will enable the company to price its products more competitively, thus strengthening GG versus the competing sapphire glass. This should help the company score additional wins for tablets.

The introduction of new ultra-high definition televisions with flat and larger screens will also boost the demand for Corning’s liquid crystal display (LCD) glass.

Recently, Corning announced that it has signed an accelerated share repurchase agreement (ASR) with Citibank, N.A. as a part of its $2 billion share repurchase program. This will offset the dilutive impact of the SCP acquisition.

Corning has seen rising earnings and mixed revenue figures over the last four quarters. It reported fourth quarter and full-year 2013 earnings results on Jan 28, 2014. Earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a couple of cents or 7.4% and were up to 30 cents compared with 28 cents in the previous quarter and 10 cents in the year-ago quarter.

Also, when compared to its peers, Corning has shown relatively better year-to-date performance.

Other Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks in the sector include AudioCodes Ltd. (AUDC - Snapshot Report), ClearOne, Inc. (CLRO - Snapshot Report) and Plantronics, Inc. (PLT - Snapshot Report). While AudioCodes sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), ClearOne and Plantronics carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
 

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