JA Solar (JASO) announced terrible earnings for for the June quarter, adding further confirmation to the evidence of a depressing quarter for the solar industry. However, having gapped down 11% in early trading, the stock found a solid bid -- further evidence, no doubt, that all the bad news is priced in on solar, and quite possibly helped by the execution of a part of the company's previously announced $100 million share repurchase program.
In terms of the earnings themselves, revenues came in at $413 million, up 12% on the year but below expectations of $418.6 million Shipments were up 30% at 401 megawatts. However, the company's gross margin fell to -2.7% from 17% in Q1. This reflected the fall in sales prices for the company's solar cells against sticky wafer supply agreements. JA Solar had previously disclosed the problem. However, the resultant net loss was worse than the market was expecting -- coming in at 22 cents versus expectations of a 6 cent loss.
Looking forward, the company sees a pick-up in demand in the current quarter and shipments of 450 to 470 megawatts. However, they lowered their guidance for full-year shipments to 1.8 gigawatts from 2.2 gigawatts.
As we argued with regard to the Canadian Solar (CSIQ) earnings Wednesday, discussed here, the earnings numbers for the June quarter across the solar industry as a whole are clearly horrible. However, the price action has started to show some relative resilience. It is perhaps the case that we are close to having priced in the worst.
This is particularly true of the price action in JA Solar Thursday. However, this is likely to be related to the company's own $100 million share repurchase program, announced earlier in the month. (You can read more detail on the program itself here.)
I still think we'll see further downside in the overall market in the days ahead. However, 1,050 to 1,100 in the S&P looks like a decent range to rebuild a portfolio, and the signs are now that buying some solar stocks on related further downside seems a reasonable idea. For JA Solar itself, it might be worth using any further downside to buy some stock once again ahead of the company's own bid.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in JASO over the next 72 hours.
Additional disclosure: On further weakness I intend to initiate positions in a number of solar stocks.