Corning (NYSE: GLW) Stock Up on Earnings Beat; Here's Where It's Headed Now

Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) stock was up more than 4% Monday morning after the company reported core earnings of $0.31 per share on revenue of $2.4 billion in the first quarter. That beat consensus estimates of $0.30 per share on revenue of $2.3 billion.

The company's earnings per share (EPS) were up 7% from the same period last year. Core revenue was up 32% from 2013's Q1.

This was the sixth consecutive quarter that Corning reported year-over-year core earnings growth.

NYSE: GLWCorning is a technology-based company that's best known for developing the display glass that's used in consumer electronic devices like tablets and smartphones. Its most well-known product is "Gorilla Glass," which has been used in more than 1 billion mobile devices worldwide.

Corning operates in five business segments, but the Display Technologies segment is the biggest revenue generator for the company. In 2013, the company reported that 37% of its revenue was generated by that segment.

With that in mind, investors were pleased to find that that Q1 revenue for its Display Technologies segment increased by 58% year over year. Corning also reported that revenue from its Optical Communications segment was up 26% from last year, and revenue from the Environmental Technologies segment increased 21%.

While strong revenue figures lifted GLW stock today, there has been a growing concern among investors that one of Corning's most well-known customers, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), could be leaving Gorilla Glass behind... Here's the deal.

How to Play Corning (NYSE: GLW) Stock Now

While no official statement has been released by Apple, rumors have been circulating that the company could move away from Corning's Gorilla Glass when it releases the iPhone 6 later in 2014.

Apparently, Apple has been buying large quantities of "Sapphire Glass" from GT Advanced Technologies, and the two companies have strengthened their partnership.

Unfortunately, because Apple typically keeps the details of its devices hidden until they are officially launched, Corning investors and Apple customers probably won't know for sure until the fall of 2014.

While that may initially scare investors, losing the iPhone 6 may not be as big a blow for Corning as some fear...

In 2012, Corning unveiled a bendable display glass named "Willow Glass." And that's a product that could spur huge growth for the company, especially with the "wearable tech" industry set to soar.

In a February report, the research firm Canalys estimated that the number of smartwatches sold will hit 23 million in 2015 and 45 million in 2017. That's up from just 8 million this year. Likewise, a 2013 Jupiter Research study concluded that retail revenue from wearable technology is expected to grow from $1.4 billion in 2013 to $19 billion by 2018.

While not every piece of wearable technology will need bendable display glass, a large portion of products will. And as an industry leader in the field, Corning is positioned perfectly to ride this burgeoning market.

The company also released a third version of Gorilla Glass at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in January and is expecting to move the product into the automotive and architectural markets in 2014. According to company officials, the newest version of Gorilla Glass is 40% more scratch-resistant than previous iterations.

Despite the iPhone 6 rumors, upgrading its products and positioning itself in additional markets will allow Corning to maintain its momentum.

"The strong first-quarter performance across all our business units has given us momentum for the remainder of the year," Corning Chief Financial Officer James Flaws said in a statement today.

Analysts expect that momentum to continue as well. Consensus estimates for the second quarter are EPS of $0.36 on revenue of $2.51 billion. Full-year estimates for GLW are EPS of $1.47 and revenue of $10.08 billion.

If Apple does decide to step away from Corning when rolling out the iPhone 6, a short-term blip should be expected for GLW stock. However, the future is bright for GLW stock long term, especially as the wearable tech industry grows.

GLW stock is up 16% in 2014. After today's earnings announcement, the stock touched $21.65, just below its 52-week high of $21.77.

Are you a Corning shareholder? What do you think about the future of GLW stock? Let us know on Twitter @moneymorning using #Corning and $GLW.

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