Feb. 25, 2014, 5:41 PM
Feb. 25, 2014, 4:21 PM
- In addition to missing Q4 estimates, First Solar (FSLR) is guiding for Q1 revenue of $800M-$900M and EPS of $0.50-$0.60, largely below a consensus of $898.3M and $0.84.
- 443.7MW of solar modules were produced, +4% Q/Q and -13% Y/Y. Conversion efficiency +10 bps Q/Q and +50 bps Y/Y to 13.4%, cost/watt fell by $0.03 Q/Q and $0.12 Y/Y to $0.56.
- Gross margin -420 bps Q/Q and -270 bps Y/Y to 24.6%. SG&A spend +4% Y/Y to $65.7M, R&D +22% to $38.4M. Free cash flow was $137M, down from $284M in Q3 and $253M a year ago.
- Expected future module shipments were at 2.7GW at the end of Q4, flat Q/Q and up 100MW Y/Y. Expected future systems/module revenue was at $7.5B, down $300M Q/Q and $500M Y/Y. But potential opportunities rose to 10.6GW from 7.7GW.
- CC at 4:30PM ET. Q4 results, PR, datasheet, slides.
Feb. 25, 2014, 4:07 PM| 2 Comments
Feb. 25, 2014, 12:10 AM
Feb. 24, 2014, 5:35 PM
Feb. 18, 2014, 4:03 PM
- On a good day for many tech momentum plays, solar and Chinese Internet stocks led the way.
- Solar names could be benefiting from Chinese government remarks suggesting Beijing remains open to trade talks to end its ongoing solar import dispute with the U.S. The comments come after the ITC added Chinese solar panels made with Taiwanese cells to its list of Chinese panels covered by import duties.
- Also: SunEdison (SUNE +6.6%) has filed for an IPO for its solar project business, a move that could entice other companies with major solar project ops to do the same.
- Solar gainers: FSLR +6.9%. SCTY +8%. JASO +12.6%. DQ +9.2%. CSUN +8.1%. YGE +5.5%. JKS +5.3%.
- Chinese Web gainers: CTRP +11.5%. CCIH +16.8%. RENN +11%. YOKU +6.1%. QIHU +6.9%. WUBA +10.6%. WBAI +7.9%. GOMO +9.1%. SOHU +5.6%.
- Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN
Feb. 13, 2014, 3:33 PM
- SunPower (SPWR +4.8%) pushes higher, rallying from early weakness after Q4 earnings beat estimates but 2014 revenue guidance came in soft, as analysts move in to praise the company.
- The improved results were due to “solid execution, with shipment, revenue and gross margin all exceeding guidance and better than consensus,” RBC analysts say as they raise their price target on the stock to $35 from $30.
- SPWR “is well positioned for profitable growth in rooftop sales and leasing, despite the normalizing margins for new utility-scale projects in North America," Credit Suisse says.
- Other solar shares are higher too: SUNE +4.8%, SCTY +5.8%, FSLR +2.3%.
Jan. 21, 2014, 1:18 PM
- New German energy minister Sigmar Gabriel has outlined fresh solar, wind, and biogas subsidy cuts. The proposed cuts, which have already drawn criticism from politicians and the local solar industry, would come on top of 2012 cuts imposed by Europe's largest solar market.
- Citing a wish to curb electricity bill increases caused by renewable energy subsidies, Gabriel is proposing (among other things) to lower Germany's renewable feed-in tariff to €0.12/kWH from €0.17/kWh, and to limit annual solar capacity expansion to 2.5GW.
- He also proposes operators of new 500KW or larger solar plants sell their electricity directly by 2015, and to replace feed-in tariffs with a tender system by 2017. In addition, a self-consumption surcharge is proposed for certain new solar installations.
- Solar stocks are seeing some profit-taking (TAN -2.6%) following the news. Notable decliners: FSLR -2.3%. JKS -2.9%. SUNE -2.8%. DQ -3.3%. YGE -2.8%. SOL -2.6%. SOL -2.6%. TSL -1.5%. CSUN -2.1%.
Jan. 7, 2014, 1:05 PM
- Solar stocks started 2014 with a bang, and are adding to their momentum today (TAN +4%) with the help of positive industry and company-specific news.
- The Chinese government, which last year set a 35GW 2015 cumulative installation target, is now promising additional support, and says it will draft guidelines for industry M&A. Consolidation with China's fragmented solar cell/module market could both lower overcapacity (already declining thanks to rising demand) and lead to further margin expansion.
- Yingli (YGE +8.7%) and Canadian Solar (CSIQ +7.4%), both of which saw huge 2013 gains, are today's biggest gainers. Yingli has announced it's forming a JV with state-owned China National Nuclear Corp. to create 500MW of utility-scale solar projects. Canadian has announced a deal to supply 25.3MW of modules for four North Carolina projects.
- Also: Hanwha (HSOL +4.6%) has signed an MOU to supply up to 50MW of modules to U.S. residential solar installer OneRoof Energy.
- Other gainers: FSLR +2.7% (hit by a Goldman downgrade yesterday). SUNE +4.4%. DQ +4.9%. CSUN +3.2%. JASO +5.5%. ENPH +6.8%. ASTI +3.8%. JKS +3%.
Jan. 6, 2014, 9:46 AM
- First Solar (FSLR -6.3%) has been cut to Sell by Goldman, and SolarCity (SCTY +11.2%) has been upgraded to Conviction Buy.
- eBay (EBAY -2.7%) has been cut to Equal Weight by Morgan Stanley.
- Riverbed (RVBD -0.6%) has been cut to Hold from Strong Buy by Needham.
- JinkoSolar (JKS +7.6%) and Trina (TSL +5.9%) have been started at Buy by Jefferies
- SolarWinds (SWI +1.7%) has been upgraded to Overweight by Evercore.
- Manhattan Associates (MANH +3.2%) has been upgraded to Outperform by Raymond James.
- UMC (UMC +0.5%) has been upgraded to Overweight by UBS.
- Ingram Micro (IM +0.6%) has been upgraded to Overweight by Barclays.
- Dupont Fabros (DFT +0.9%) has been upgraded to Outperform by Baird.
- Rambus (RMBS -3.6%) has been cut to Hold by Jefferies.
- Arris (ARRS -2.5%) has been cut to Equal Weight by Barclays.
- Geospace Technologies (GEOS -4%) has been cut to Sell by BWS Financial.
- Trimble (TRMB -2.1%) has been cut to Hold by Craig-Hallum.
- Autohome (ATHM -9.6%) has been started at Neutral by Deutsche and Piper, and at Sell by Goldman, on underwriter coverage day.
Jan. 2, 2014, 12:09 PM
- On the first trading day of 2014, solar stocks are picking up right where they left off in 2013. Today's gains come in spite of a general selloff in equities.
- A bullish Deutsche note could be helping the group: The firm's checks lead it to think cumulative Chinese solar installations will pass a 2014 government target of 12GW this year. Last month, Deutsche defended Chinese solar names in the face of concerns about a possible 4GW 2014 cap on local utility-scale installations.
- Yingli (YGE +14.2%) is headlining today's winners. The company has announced it's forming a JV with a unit of Datong Coal Mine to build solar power plants in the Chinese city of Shuozhou. Hanwha, which has announced a Belgian module supply deal, is also up sharply.
- Other big gainers: CSIQ +9.2%. FSLR +4.9%. SOL +7.3%. JASO +6.7%. JKS +6.2%. SCTY +6.1%. TSL +6.1%. LDK +4.6%. SUNE +3.1%. CSUN +7.8%.
- Solar ETFs: KWT +2.9%. TAN +4.4%.
Dec. 19, 2013, 2:44 PM
- Volatile solar stocks are making another move higher today. With less than two weeks left in the year, the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN +2.2%) is staring at a 128% YTD gain.
- Trina (TSL +4.1%) and ReneSola (SOL +3.2%) have both announced supply deals - the former is supplying 25MW of modules for a Thai solar project, and the latter is providing 365KW of modules and solar inverters for California projects.
- Notable gainers: SCTY +7.8%. FSLR +2.7%. SPWR +4.1%. YGE +4.1%. CSIQ +3.8%. SunEdison is also up, after Leon Cooperman provided a favorable mention.
Dec. 10, 2013, 11:46 AM
- A day after solar stocks sold off amid concerns about a possible 4GW cap on 2014 Chinese utility-scale solar installations, shares are bouncing with the help of a Deutsche note that calls such fears overblown, and states checks indicate the Chinese government has become "even more serious" about achieving its 35GW 2015 cumulative installation target.
- In spite of utility cap worries, Deutsche's checks suggest "the policy outlook for large [solar] projects in China has improved since mid-November," with approval times having been cut. Moreover, provinces haven't shown any sign of being issued targets or quotas related to an installation cap.
- The firm also thinks a new Chinese solar subsidy program (focused on self-consumption) that kicks in next month will offset the expiration of China's Golden Sun subsidy program, and that a more streamlined incentive process will fuel installation growth.
- Deutsche is reiterating Buys on Yingli (YGE +4.3%) and Trina (TSL +5.9%). Also up: FSLR +2.6%. HSOL +9.7%. CSIQ +5.9%. JKS +6.1%. SOL +3.7%.
- Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN
Dec. 9, 2013, 12:55 PM| 1 Comment
Dec. 6, 2013, 12:25 PM
- Even as markets rally in response to a favorable NFP report, solar stocks are giving back some of this year's gains. ReneSola (SOL -10.3%), which tumbled yesterday after positing Q3 results and announcing it's shuttering a polysilicon plant, is the biggest decliner.
- Credit Suisse has cut its ReneSola PT to $3 from $5, while reiterating an Underperform. The firm notes the plant shutdown removes 40% of ReneSola's polysilicon capacity, and undermines arguments the company will benefit from rising polysilicon prices in 2014/2015. It's also worried about ReneSola's "relatively low margins" and limited downstream (solar plant) exposure.
- One positive piece of industry news: A Japanese trade group estimates Japan's solar cell/module shipments rose 25% Q/Q and 231% Y/Y in Q3 to 2.075GW. Imports accounted for 58% of shipments, and rose 30% Q/Q and 540% Y/Y.
- Rising shipments to Japan have already lifted the sales and margins of many Chinese module suppliers. First Solar (FSLR -1.9%) announced its entry into the market last month.
- Notable solar decliners: YGE -6.7%. TSL -3.5%. CSIQ -2.7%. JKS -2.6%. LDK -2.1%. JKS -2.6%. JASO -2.2%.
- Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN
Nov. 25, 2013, 11:54 AM
- Ten days after announcing a reseller deal with Japanese oil giant JX Nippon, along with plans to invest $100M to build local solar plants, First Solar (FSLR -3%) says it has begun constructing a 1.4MW project in the Southern Japanese city of Kitakyushu-shi. (PR)
- Though the project is modest in scope, it's noteworthy since it's the first one First Solar has announced for the fast-growing/high-margin Japanese market.
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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