First Solar, Inc.NASDAQ
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  • Fri, Oct. 7, 2:37 PM
    • First Solar (FSLR -5%) downgraded to Neutral from Buy, price target cut to $42 from $58 (current price $37.72). Analyst Brian Lee: "While long-term risk-reward remains more compelling for the company vs others in our coverage, our positive expectations on volume upside potential and better-than-expected EPS power heading into 2017 have not been fulfilled.”
    • SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG -9.7%) moved from Neutral to Sell, target lowered from $19 to $13 (current price $15.52). Reduces EPS estimates for FY 2017, 2018 and 2019 to $1.69, $1.06 and $0.80, respectively.
    • Sunrun (RUN +7.7%) upgraded from Neutral to Buy, price target raised from $7 to $10 (current price $6.60). FY 2016, 2017, 2018 EPS projections raised to $0.33 (from -$0.92), -$0.01 (from -$2.37) and $0.31 (from -$2.14), respectively.
    • Vivint Solar (VSLR +0.6%) upgraded to Neutral from Sell, target raised from $2.50 to $3.50 (current price $3.20). Lee: "Near-term, we still see risk to volumes given a dearth of tax equity capacity (particularly in 4Q16) but see less risk of a dilutive equity raise as previously modeled given recent access to debt capital and a slowing growth trajectory." Estimates FY 2016, 2017 and 2018 EPS at -$2.09 (from -$2.17), -$1.59 (from -$1.62) and -$1.36 (from -$1.46), respectively.
    • Goldman Sachs maintains a Neutral rating on the solar sector overall.
    | Fri, Oct. 7, 2:37 PM | 35 Comments
  • Fri, Oct. 7, 10:19 AM
    • A new SEC team this year was tasked with reviewing Q2 filings to check compliance with new guidelines on use of non-standard financial metrics.
    • First Solar (FSLR -4.8%) and SunPower's (SPWR -5.1%) 8Point3 Energy Partners (CAFD -0.1%) has the honor of being the first to receive a letter from that task force (it's yet to be made public).
    • CAFD last month raised $102.6M from investors to acquire completed power plants from its parents, and it's the numbers in that prospectus that's caught the SEC's eye. In a late-July letter to the company, the SEC asked what was being left out of adjusted EBITDA numbers and its description of cash available to investors.
    • Source: Marketwatch's Francine McKenna
    | Fri, Oct. 7, 10:19 AM | 45 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 6, 3:24 PM
    • Formerly bearish Axiom Capital analyst Gordon Johnson upgrades his rating on the solar energy sector (TAN +0.5%) by two notches to Overweight from Underweight, and raises his ratings on Yingli Green Energy (YGE +4.6%), Trina Solar (TSL +1.3%) and JA Solar (JASO +4.5%) to Buy from Sell, as well as SolarCity (SCTY -2.6%) to Hold from Sell.
    • A key reason for Johnson's "new-found solar optimism" is China's decision to cut solar subsidies, which could result in ~25 GW of Chinese “pull-in” demand in H1 2017, suggesting a undersupply in the solar market that should push prices higher.
    • Johnson believes the stronger demand will cause the prices of all kinds of solar equipment to surge, resulting in higher margins and multiples for many solar companies.
    • Also: OTCPK:SUNEQ +63% (see earlier), CSIQ +0.7%, SPWR +0.3%, FSLR -0.3%.
    | Thu, Oct. 6, 3:24 PM | 21 Comments
  • Thu, Sep. 8, 12:58 PM
    • The tough environment for solar stocks (TAN +0.7%) will continue for another 18 months, but falling solar stocks may have created buying opportunities among some of the top names in the space, according to analysts at JMP Securities.
    • Until the overall solar market improves, JMP prefers stocks that are gaining market share and have favorable competitive positioning, adding that further consolidation in the sector is likely.
    • JMP rates Vivint Solar (VSLR +4.4%), Sunrun (RUN +1.4%) and Solaredge Technologies (SEDG +0.2%) at Market Outperform, Canadian Solar (CSIQ +1.5%) at Market Perform, and First Solar (FSLR -0.5%) and SunPower (SPWR -1.3%) at Underperform.
    | Thu, Sep. 8, 12:58 PM | 66 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 31, 11:10 AM
    • First Solar (FSLR -2.3%) is downgraded to Hold from Buy at Argus, citing a softer project backlog and the impact of increased pricing competition.
    • The firm says that with solar tax incentives now renewed through 2019, customers have less urgency to complete projects sooner, which has benefited FSLR.
    • However, Argus continues to view FSLR as the best positioned company in the solar industry based on its ability to remain profitable even as peers have been hurt by oversupplied markets and a lack of pricing power; its investment in cadmium telluride technology, which should provide a cost advantage relative to more commoditized technologies such as polysilicon; and its positive cash flow and solid balance sheet.
    | Wed, Aug. 31, 11:10 AM | 28 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 10, 3:25 PM
    • Analysts are taken aback by SunPower's (SPWR -29.6%) "guidance bomb" which calls for 2016 gross margins of 9.5%-11.5% instead of 13%-15% amid slowing demand for utility-scale solar projects and more competition in the panel market.
    • The surprise is weighing on other stocks in the group: FSLR -7.5%, CSIQ -8.7%, SEDG -9.8%, VSLR -3.1%, JASO -4.5%, SolarCity SCTY -0.9%, SUNE -1.9%, Trina Solar TSL +0.1%.
    • At least six firms slammed the stock with downgrades - J.P. Morgan, Oppenheimer, Deutsche Bank, Janney Capital, Credit Suisse and Avondale.
    • R.W. Baird, who maintained his Outperform rating but slashed his price target to $21 from $37, said during SPWR's earnings conference call that he felt "blindsided... when you guys have publicly spoken over the past near couple of weeks, we didn’t hear any kind of hint of this at all."
    • Credit Suisse’s Patrick Jobin, who cuts his rating to Neutral from Outperform as well as his price target to $12 from $32, says management now faces a credibility problem.
    • Not everyone is negative: BofA/Merrill says SPWR's reduced guidance was a disappointment but the stock remains a Buy due to its technology and efficiency advantages, pipeline and backing from global energy giant Total.
    | Wed, Aug. 10, 3:25 PM | 53 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 3, 5:39 PM
    • First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) +0.7% AH after reporting Q2 earnings and revenue that easily beat analyst expectations, citing higher demand for its modules and the sale of a stake in its Kingbird project.
    • FSLR raises the lower end of guidance for full-year EPS to $4.20 from $4.10, maintaining the upper end at $4.50, vs. $4.19 analyst consensus estimate, and sees full-year revenues of $3.8B-$4B, vs. $3.86B consensus.
    • FSLR sees gross profit forecast at a range of 18.5%-19% vs. a prior outlook for 18%-19%, while cutting its operating income view to $205M-$250M on a GAAP basis from a prior $300M-$370M; however, non-GAAP operating income is projected at $310M-$370M.
    • CEO Mark Widmar says FSLR's lead line module efficiency exited the quarter at over 16.6%, and the company further lowered its module cost per watt; Q2 goss margin improved to 20.5% from 18.4% a year earlier.
    | Wed, Aug. 3, 5:39 PM | 24 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 3, 4:06 PM
    • First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR): Q2 EPS of $0.87 beats by $0.32.
    • Revenue of $934.38M (+4.3% Y/Y) beats by $71.7M.
    • Shares +3%.
    • Press Release
    | Wed, Aug. 3, 4:06 PM | 32 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 3, 2:38 PM
    • The solar industry (TAN +1.5%) is facing a "challenging" time ahead, and solar companies likely will be hurt by tighter regulations going forward, Morgan Stanley warns, adding that China, Japan and Europe are the markets most likely to be affected but that the U.S. also faces "tactical regulatory headwinds in the near-term."
    • Stanley downgrades Canadian Solar (CSIQ -0.4%) to Underweight from Overweight with a $12.80 price target, slashed from $24, as one of the companies most at risk from coming pricing pressures.
    • However, the firm believes sales diversity and focus on systems put SunPower (SPWR +1.9%) in a favorable position ahead of the tough oversupply environment in 2017, and likes JinkoSolar (JKS +1.5%) as the preferred choice among Chinese module manufacturers; both companies are maintained at Overweight but with reduced price targets of $27 for SPWR and $27.20 for JKS.
    • Meanwhile, advances that First Solar (FSLR +3%) plans to make to its modules should enable its margins to rise in 2019-20, the firm says, rating shares at Equal Weight with a $59 price target, cut from $63.
    | Wed, Aug. 3, 2:38 PM | 36 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 2, 5:35 PM
  • Fri, Jul. 15, 10:10 AM
    | Fri, Jul. 15, 10:10 AM | 53 Comments
  • Thu, Jul. 7, 3:00 PM
    • Citing a slower than expected ramp in bookings, a likely pause in demand ahead of the series 5 ramp, and a potential increase in pricing pressure, driven by aggressive bidding environment from the developers in international segments, analyst Vishal Shah downgrades First Solar (FSLR -10.2%) to Hold from Buy, and slashes the price target to $44 from $80 (current price after today's decline is $44).
    • "Even though FSLR remains one of the best run companies in our coverage, we believe it would be difficult for management to grow earnings amidst some of the expected near term headwinds."
    • His 2017 estimate for EPS is now $1.50 vs. consensus $3.18, and 2018 of $2.50 vs. $3.98.
    | Thu, Jul. 7, 3:00 PM | 60 Comments
  • Thu, Jul. 7, 3:00 PM
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  • Thu, Jul. 7, 12:45 PM
    | Thu, Jul. 7, 12:45 PM | 6 Comments
  • Mon, Jun. 27, 9:47 AM
    • 8point3 Energy Partners (CAFD -1.3%) discloses the removal of CFO Mark Widmar, VP of Operations Alexander Bradley and a director at the behest of First Solar (FSLR -4.1%).
    • Widmar will be replaced as CFO July 5 by Bryan Schumaker, who is currently FSLR's Chief Accounting Officer after joining FSLR in 2008.
    • Bradley will be replaced as VP of Operations by Max Gardner, who is currently VP of Project Finance (North America) after joining FSLR in 2010.
    | Mon, Jun. 27, 9:47 AM | 6 Comments
  • Mon, Jun. 27, 8:02 AM