DURHAM – Persistent rumors that General Electric is interested in buying Cree sent stock in the silicon chip and light emitting diode manufacturer up another 9.5 percent on Wednesday to $32.01 a share.

Cree (Nasdaq: ) shares soared on Aug. 31 when rumors first surfaced that GE was looking to buy Cree. Its 52-week high is $32.10, which it reached earlier in the day Wednesday. The company’s stock has more than doubled from its 52-week low of $15.25. Cree opened the year at $17.32.

If someone moves to buy Cree now it does so with the company’s market cap having soared above $2.7 billion.

Shares jumped $2.77 on Wednesday, and analyst Web site Zacks.com recommended buyers consider the stock.

“Recent rumors of a possible buyout by GE (NYSE: GE) are resulting in a buoyant share price. We believe this could be a good time to accumulate shares. The company is a technological leader in the market in which it operates,” Zacks.com reported Wednesday.

“The potential for expansion into new end markets is substantial, and this potential is backed by an experienced R&D [research and development] team. The company has the new age lighting technology that makes it an attractive acquisition target for electrical giant GE.”

More positive words about Cree stock came from Forbes.com, which quoted two analysts who have favorable views on Cree as an emerging power in LED lighting. LEDs are gaining popularity as a potential replacement for conventional lighting since it offers a trifecta of savings – lower energy use, less heat and longer lasting.

Making Cree more appealing to some buyers is the fact it is a “green” stock, i.e. environmentally friendly.

Plus, Cree recently purchased a huge LED manufacturer in China, a country that is rushing to embrace LEDs in order to reduce energy costs.

Cree has announced in the last two weeks major advances in LED power, and it also has cleared some patent issues with a competitor. The latter deal struck with Nichia could make a potential buyout easier.

Zacks.com lifted its target price for Cree stock to $35.

Interestingly, the rise in Cree stock and the takeover talk has not changed analysts’ views. Of 12 who follow the firm, seven rate Cree a “hold”, one a “strong buy,” two a “buy” with one a “sell” and one a “strong sell.”

Forbes.com reported Morgan, Keegan & Company analyst Harsh Kumar as saying that Cree will eventually be bought, if not by GE then someone else. Kumar describes Cree as a “gateway stock,” Forbe.scom said, meaning that Cree has technology to lead in an emerging field.

Andrew Huang, an analyst at American Technology Research, was reported by Forbes.com as reporting that GE might need to purchase Cree in order to remain competitive with Royal Philips Electronics. Philips just wrapped up a $731 million purchase of Color Kinetics, another digital light manufacturer.

So is GE going to get a “better idea” and buy Cree? The world wonders.