- A solid majority of analysts covering First Solar (FSLR +15.5%) have maintained neutral ratings for a while, even as shares took off as part of a broader solar rally, and none have issued upgrades following the company's huge Q3 beat and mixed full-year guidance.
- Deutsche (Hold) estimates early revenue recognition for the Desert Sunlight project provided a $0.15 Q3 EPS boost, and that a lower tax rate and operational improvements provided a $0.25 boost. The firm sees "limited upside to 2014 estimates."
- Needham (Hold) offers a similar take: It's encouraged by First Solar's cost improvements and rising bookings, but is worried about the potential for lower 2014 earnings and "uncertainty" regarding 2015 growth.
- First Solar mentioned on its CC (transcript) its core module cost/watt ($0.49) is the "lowest in the industry" following a big Q3 drop - the company's cost advantage has been narrowing in recent years as polysilicon prices crash - and that it's testing modules with a 14.1% conversion efficiency; average Q2 efficiency was 13.3%, and lead-line efficiency 13.9%. Ont the other hand, First Solar says it's seeing a "lower system ASP environment."
- 16.8% of the float was shorted as of Oct. 15; that's probably assisting with today's rally. Also higher: CSIQ +7.2%. GTAT +6.3%. RSOL +8.9%. YGE +3.7%. SUNE +2.4%. SOL +3.6%.
- Update (12:35 PM): First Solar finally catches an upgrade: S&P has lifted shares all the way to Buy from Sell.
First Solar soars in spite of muted analyst commentary, peers also up
Nov 1 2013, 11:22 ET