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Local Tech Wire

DURHAM, N.C. – Shares in light emitting diode and semiconductor firm (Nasdaq: CREE) soared more than 9 percent within minutes of Tuesday’s quarterly earnings reported in which the company said it set a record for revenue.

Shares jumped to more than $59 from the market close of $54.15. They ended the day at $63.59, up $9.38, or 17.3 percent.

The bullish run continued Wednesday, sending shares up nearly 19 percent, or more than $9, to a new 52-week high of more than $63 in afternoon trading.

Bank of America, added to the buying surge, reiterating its "Buy’ rating and raising its target stock price to $80 from $70 based on estimated earnings increases through 2012.
 

Cree reported revenues of $199.5 million in its most recent fiscal quarter, a 35 percent jump from the same quarter in 2008 and an 18 percent surge from the previous quarter. Analysts had expected revenues at $187 million.

Earnings also jumped to 38 cents per share minus one-time expenses, or $40.2 million, a near doubling of the 20-cent earnings, or $17.8 million, a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected earnings of 30 cents.

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Cree also forecast a strong revenue performance for the current quarter that ends in March, saying it expected revenues to range between $215 million and $225 million.

“We continued to execute very well in Q2, as we delivered record revenue and net income,” said Chuck Swoboda, Cree’s chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. “LED lighting adoption continues to gain momentum and our near term focus is on factory execution and capacity expansion. Our strong balance sheet further enhances our leadership position and supports our mission of leading the LED lighting revolution.”

Cree shares had already rallied Tuesday after recent losses.

Shares hit a 52-week high of $60 to open the year but an analyst downgrade to “hold” from “buy” of Cree by Morgan Joseph on Jan. 14 helped drive prices down some 10 percent.