May. 6, 2014, 4:17 PM
- First Solar (FSLR) has hiked its 2014 EPS guidance range by $0.20 to $2.40-$2.80; the consensus is at $2.49. Gross margin is now expected to be in a range of 17%-18% vs. a prior 16%-18%, and operating cash flow in a range of $300M-$500M vs. a prior $250M-$400M.
- Gross margin rose 250 bps Y/Y in Q1 to 24.9%, contributing to First Solar's big EPS beat. A 10% drop in opex to $97.4M (compares with 26% rev. growth) also helped.
- Due to project construction work, First Solar ended Q1 with $1.4B in cash/marketable securities, down $385M from the end of Q4.
- Shares +4.5% AH.
- Q1 results, PR
May. 6, 2014, 4:08 PM
May. 6, 2014, 10:15 AM
- First Solar (FSLR +0.8%) will act as the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for a 19.76MW solar project in Kings County, CA, and a 23MW project in Kings and neighboring Kern County. The former project is expected to be finished in October, and the latter in Q1 2015.
- Shares are up slightly ahead of this afternoon's Q1 report. The company had 2.7GW of expected future module shipments at the end of Q4, and $7.5B worth of expected future module/systems revenue.
May. 5, 2014, 5:35 PM
- ACLS, AFG, AGU, ALL, AMTG, ARC, ARRS, ATVI, AVNR, AVNW, AWR, BEAT, BID, BIO, CENT, CHUY, CNVR, CODE, CPT, CSU, CYH, CYNI, DDR, DIS, DLR, DPM, DTLK, EA, EGAN, ENPH, ETE, ETP, EXTR, FEYE, FMC, FNGN, FRGI, FSLR, FST, FTR, GALE, GHDX, GNC, GNMK, GRPN, IAG, ICUI, IMI, JIVE, LBTYA, LGCY, LLNW, LYV, MCHP, MITT, MOVE, MPO, MRO, MTDR, MYGN, NYMT, OCLR, OKE, OKS, PBPB, PEGA, PSEC, PXD, PZZA, QGEN, QUAD, RDN, REGI, RGP, RLOC, RP, SAAS, SAPE, SGMO, SPA, SSNI, SXL, THOR, THRX, TRIP, TRMB, TRMR, TSRA, WES, WFM, WTI, ZAGG, ZU.
Apr. 28, 2014, 2:15 PM
- The latest rout in once-high-flying tech momentum plays isn't leaving solar stocks unscathed. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN -6.2%) is now down 21% from its March 7 high of $51.07.
- Likely adding fuel to the fire: Credit Suisse has slashed its 2014 Chinese solar installation forecast by 500MW to 11.5GW, soundly below the government's 14GW target (set in February). CS thinks policy changes related to utility-scale projects, feed-in tariff reimbursement, and distributed solar incentives are needed for investment to pick up.
- The firm adds JinkoSolar (JKS -10.8%), Trina (TSL -12.2%), and Canadian Solar (CSIQ -12.8%) are well-positioned to profit from downstream projects, given they have access to financing from the China Development Bank and other sources. On the other hand, it thinks Yingli (YGE -4.1%) and ReneSola (SOL -8.8%) are "less likely to access project capital due to their strained balance sheets." Yingli recently priced a stock offering expected to yield $83M in net proceeds.
- Other decliners: FSLR -5.3%. SCTY -7.1%. SUNE -6.8%. CSUN -9.8%. JASO -9.4%. DQ -9.3%. HSOL -5.9%. SPWR -5.1%.
Apr. 16, 2014, 9:43 AM
- The U.S. Energy Department plans to offer up to $4B in loan guarantees to renewable energy projects, focusing on advanced electric grid technology and storage, biofuels that can be used in conventional vehicles, energy from waste products and energy efficiency improvements.
- Despite the high-profile collapse of Solyndra, the Obama administration believes most of its energy investments have done well, and it credits the program with strengthening the U.S. solar industry.
- Solar stocks: TAN, JASO, SPWR, TSL, FSLR, LDK, CSIQ, YGE, SOL, JKS, CSUN, SCTY, HSOL, EMKR, SUNE, DQ.
- Battery related names: PLUG, BLDP, CBAK, ZBB, ABAT, ULBI, ENS, HPJ.
- EV cars: TSLA.
Apr. 11, 2014, 3:20 PM
- Solar stocks are broadly lower following Yingli Green Energy's (YGE -5.1%) warning of greater than projected declines in PV module shipments in Q1.
- The first solar company to make a Q1 pre-announcement, YGE estimated Q1 shipments fell by the low 30s in percentage points from Q4, below prior company guidance of a mid-20s decrease, due to softness in China and project delays in Algeria.
- YGE reiterated its FY 2014 shipment guidance of 4.0-4.2 GW, and sees higher prices lifting Q1 margins more than expected.
- Although some of YGE's weaknesses may have been company-specific, the warning has cast a shadow over solar stocks today: SUNE -2.4%, FSLR -2.9%, TSL -2.6%, SCTY -1.7%, SPWR -5.2%, JKS -7.6%.
- ETFs: TAN, KWT
Apr. 8, 2014, 4:00 PM
- Smart bargain hunting or catching a falling knife? After being bludgeoned almost ceaselessly over the last couple of weeks, many high-beta tech stocks are closing the day with sizable gains.
- The rebound comes on a day when hedge fund Coatue Management announced plans to return over $2B to investors following a 9% March decline caused by tech stock losses. It also comes as several tech giants, including Apple, Microsoft, H-P, and IBM, finish the day near breakeven, or with modest losses.
- Leading U.S. Internet gainers: LNKD +6.2%. P +6%. ZU +5%. SALE +7.2%. SSTK +6%. AOL +4.6%.
- Chinese Internet gainers: EJ +9.1%. WBAI +8.9%. QIHU +7.9%. ATHM +8.1%. YY +6.8%. SFUN +8.7%. GOMO +9.8%. Ctrip and Qunar were among the sector's biggest gainers following M&A rumors.
- Others: FSLR +7%. NMBL +6.2%. NPTN +5.9%. PANW +5.5%. EGHT +5.4%. RFMD +4.9%. QIWI +4.9%. CRUS +4.3%. RALY +5.5%.
Apr. 4, 2014, 1:12 PM
- Citi's Shahriar Pourreza has upped his First Solar (FSLR +1%) PT to $87 from $63, and is reiterating a Buy. He thinks the solar module/project giant will beat 2015/2016 consensus estimates, and expects higher ASPs to lift margins.
- First Solar took off two weeks ago after setting 2014/2015 guidance and providing aggressive module efficiency targets at its analyst day. They're holding onto modest gains today even as the Nasdaq drops 2.5%.
Mar. 19, 2014, 12:46 PM
Mar. 19, 2014, 10:39 AM
- First Solar (FSLR +10.6%) aims to increase its lead-line module manufacturing efficiency from 13.9% in Q4 to 15.6%-15.8% by the end of 2015, 17.7%-18.4% in 2016, and 18.1%-18.9% in 2017.
- Installed manufacturing capacity is expected to grow from less than 2GW in 2014 to 3.5GW in 2018, with deployable capacity rising above 4GW.
- The company says it has produced a thin-film module with a record 17% efficiency (up from a prior 16.1%). First Solar has already developed a thin-film cell with a 20.4% efficiency.
- First Solar is extending its partnership with GE to include developing a new utility-scale plant design the companies assert "significantly increases the size of the solar array served by each inverter and reduces the number of inverter/transformer stations required for each plant" to convert DC power into grid-ready AC power.
- First Solar's TetraSun unit (high-efficiency silicon solar cells) is set to begin production in late 2014.
- Previous: First Solar soars after setting 2014-2016 guidance
Mar. 19, 2014, 10:25 AM
- First Solar (FSLR +11.5%) guides at its 2014 analyst meeting (webcast) for 2014 revenue of $3.7B-$4B and EPS of $2.20-$2.60 vs. a consensus of $3.77B and $3.21.
- 2015 guidance is for revenue of $3.8B-$4.3B and EPS of $4.50-$6.00 vs. a consensus of $4.24B and $3.68. 2016 guidance (accounts for the winding down of some major utility-scale U.S. projects) is for revenue of $3.8B-$4.5B and EPS of $3.50-$5.00.
- After totaling $856M in 2013, operating cash flow is expected to amount to $250M-$450M in 2014, $300M-$600M in 2015, and $800M-$1.3B in 2016.
- Whereas most of First Solar's expected 2014 revenue will come from its existing contracted pipeline, most of its expected 2016 revenue won't. The company hadn't provided 2014 guidance with its soft Q4 report.
Mar. 17, 2014, 1:35 PM
- JA Solar's blowout Q4 numbers and strong guidance have fueled another solar stock rally. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN +3.5%) is up sharply after witnessing a 10% drop from its March 7 peak.
- First Solar (FSLR +4.5%) is the group's biggest winner: The company announced today it has completed a 1.3MW plant in the Japanese city of Kitakyushu-shi. The company first disclosed the relatively modest project in November, ten days after announcing a reseller deal with oil giant JX Nippon to target the fast-growing Japanese solar market.
- Other gainers: YGE +3.6%. SOL +3.4%. CSIQ +3%. TSL +3%. HSOL +2.8%.
Feb. 27, 2014, 9:42 AM
- First Solar (FSLR +5.8%) has been upgraded to Outperform by Baird a day after diving due to a Q4 miss and soft Q1 guidance.
- Cypress Semi (CY -5.3%) has been cut to Sector Perform by Pac Crest.
- Tibco (TIBX +2.2%) and Manhattan Associates (MANH +1.1%) have been started at Buy by B. Riley as part of a broader enterprise software coverage launch.
- Care.com (CRCM +5.8%) has been upgraded to Overweight by JPMorgan after selling off yesterday in response to its Q4 results.
- ChannelAdvisor (ECOM +2.9%) has been started at Outperform by William Blair.
- Radware (RDWR +2.3%) has been started at Outperform by Wedbush.
Feb. 26, 2014, 12:14 PM
- With 17 of the 20 analysts covering First Solar (FSLR -11.5%) holding neutral or bearish stances going into the company's Q4 report, little sympathy is being shown in response to a big Q4 miss and soft Q1 guidance.
- Goldman (Sell, PT lowered to $42 from $45) continues to see a "lack of upside in First Solar's utility-scale model." The firm points to checks showing a "challenging U.S. growth outlook for large-scale utility projects," mixed performance in emerging markets, and the lack of a near-term yieldco spinoff/IPO for First Solar's solar projects (SunEdison recently filed for one).
- Goldman also thinks First Solar's ability to hit a 1:1 book-to-bill at the end of 2013 was accompanied by a mix shift towards lower-margin module orders.
- Morgan Stanley is pleased with First Solar's cost-cutting moves, but also thinks investors are counting on "a large degree of profitable international growth," which it considers "highly uncertain." Cowen expects gross margin to be down 450 bps Q/Q, but also notes Q1 guidance "may not be indicative of full-year results."
- In spite of First Solar, peers are turning in a strong day (TAN +4.1%). The Street's positive response to SunEdison's Capital Markets Day could be helping.
- Notable gainers: SCTY +6.6%. CSIQ +8.4%. DQ +6.9%. JKS +4.2%. JASO +3.5%. ENPH +4.1%.
Feb. 26, 2014, 9:16 AM
FSLR vs. ETF Alternatives
First Solar Inc is a provider of solar energy solutions. It designs, manufactures and sells PV solar modules with a thin-film semiconductor technology. It also manufactures crystalline silicon solar modules.
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