Buy These 3 Scorching Solar Stocks Now

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Includes: JKS, SCTY, SPWR, TAN
by: Zacks Investment Research

The Doha meeting on April 17 signaled a policy error that triggered some panic selling Sunday night in the futures markets. OPEC members couldn't come to a conclusion on a supply freeze and crude oil sunk 6%. However, when markets opened Sunday morning, we saw support come in for both crude oil and the equity markets. This shows investors have some confidence that the price of oil is stable and doesn't need intervention to support price.

While oil companies will benefit from crude oil finding support in the low $40s, there still is a fear that long-term damage has been done to balance sheets and that future margins will still be threatened. Rather than taking the risk of investing in an oil company that might show horrible Q1 results, investors looking for energy exposure would be better off turning to solar.

The solar sector currently has a Zacks Industry Rank of 18 out of 265 (top 7%). Looking at the chart below, we see the growth of the value of the global solar market over the last decade. By 2023, solar will be a $160 billion industry.

The stocks listed below all sport strong fundamentals in this growing industry. With earnings season in full swing this week, investors might want some exposure to the space.

SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) is a Zacks Rank #1(Strong Buy) that designs and manufactures high-efficiency silicon solar cells and solar panels based on an all-back contact cell design. SunPower's solar cells and panels generate electricity from sunlight for residential, commercial and remote power applications.

The company has a market cap of $2.9 billion and a Forward P/E of 12. The company pays no dividend and struggles with low Zacks Style Scores, but has expected EPS growth of 10%.

Estimates for the company have been revised higher for fiscal year 2016. Over the last 60 days, we have seen a jump of 15%, from $1.55 to $1.79. Looking at the chart below, we see that price has yet to catch up with the revision and higher. When the company reports on May 5th, we could see the stock surge with an EPS surprise to the upside.

JinkoSolar (NYSE:JKS) is a Zacks Rank #1(Strong Buy) that engages in the design, development, production, and marketing of photovoltaic products in China and internationally. The company's principal products are silicon wafers, solar cells and solar modules which are all along the photovoltaic value chain, with a global network spanning across Europe, North America and Asia

The company has a market cap of $650 million and a Forward P/E of 4. The company pays no dividend but has expected growth of 20%. JinkoSolar sports a Zacks Style Score of "A" in Value and "B" in growth.

Estimates for the company have been revised aggressively higher for fiscal year 2016 and 2017. Over the last 60 days, we have seen a rise of 13% for 2016, from $4.35 to $4.92. For 2017, we have seen an 18% jump in estimates, from $4.86 to $5.74.

SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) is a Zacks Rank #2(Buy) that designs, manufactures, installs, monitors, maintains, leases, and sells solar energy systems to government, residential, and commercial customers in the United States. For those familiar with Elon Musk, he is the founder of SolarCity and this is his solar version of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA).

While SolarCity is no Tesla, it does have the man behind the car running the show. This has led to a cult following of the stock, but there are more reasons than Musk to be long. The company has a market cap of $2.8 billion and where it lacks in EPS growth, sales growth is an impressive 60% year over year. Estimates for fiscal year 2016 and 2017 are being revised higher and investors are hoping it's the beginning of a trend change.

After falling for the better part of two years, estimates for the company have been revised higher for fiscal year 2017. Over the last 60 days, we have seen a jump of 1.2%, from -$8.89 to -$8.72. While most investors would shy away from negative earnings, some see the company turning around and heading back to where they were in 2014. If analysts continue to revise higher, the stock should be bought in anticipation of a turn around.

If an investor just wanted exposure to the whole sector, they could go with the Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSEARCA:TAN), an ETF that corresponds to the MAC Global equity index. The top three holdings are SolarCity, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) and SunPower. The fund has a 0.70% expense ratio with a 2.17% yield. The ETF is down over 26% in 2016 highs.

In Summary

Crude oil has bounced helping most energy stocks. Now that story is mostly played out, solar gives investors a long-term opportunity to take advantage of a growing industry and the potential future of energy.

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