May. 15, 2014, 2:43 PM
- Chinese solar demand fell to just 1GW in Q1 from 6GW in seasonally strong Q4, writes Deutsche, which was upbeat about local solar activity at the start of the year.
- Deutsche believes Q2 installations will be in a 3GW-4GW range, and (following talks with Chinese solar firms) and thinks 2GW is a more realistic target for 2014 Chinese distributed solar installations than the government's 8GW target. A 14GW target has been set for total installations (8GW distributed, 6GW utility)
- The Deutsche report comes a couple days after Bloomberg reported the Indian government has deemed foreign solar firms (inc. U.S. and Chinese companies) guilty of dumping products, a move that raises the possibility of tariffs. Though still much smaller than China's solar market, the Indian market has been growing quickly.
- Solar stocks (TAN -3.6%) are underperforming amid a market selloff. Notable decliners: JKS -7.5%. SCTY -6.1%. TSL -5.4%. CSIQ -5.3%. YGE -4.9%. CSUN -4.7%.
- Daqo (DQ -9.8%) is especially hard-hit after pricing its 2M-share secondary offering (previous) at $29.
May. 7, 2014, 11:45 AM
- A Q1 beat and full-year guidance hike aren't enough to keep First Solar (FSLR -4.2%) from selling off. Possibly contributing: In spite of the guidance hike, First Solar stated on its CC (transcript) Q2 EPS "will be significantly lower" than a $0.60 consensus due to project timings; that implies 2014 results will be very back-end loaded.
- Also: First Solar disclosed in its earnings slides (.pdf) its expected future systems/3rd-party module revenue is down $400M from the end of 2013 to $7.1B. However, expected module shipments are up by 100MW to 2.8GW, and potential booking opportunities have risen by 1.6GW to 12.2GW.
- Module production totaled 441MW, -1% Q/Q and +19% Y/Y. Conversion efficiency rose 10 bps Q/Q and 60 bps Y/Y to 13.5%, with lead-line efficiency rising 30 bps Q/Q and 120 bps Y/Y to 14.2%. The company is aiming for 18.1%-18.9% lead-line efficiency by 2017.
- Other solar stocks are also off (TAN -2.8%), as investors continue showing a take-no-prisoners attitude towards momentum stocks in general. Canadian Solar (CSIQ +0.3%) has given back the premarket gains it saw following a Q1 guidance hike.
- Notable decliners: SCTY -8.8%. SUNE -7%. TSL -5.5%. CSUN -5.1%. YGE -4.8%. SPWR -4.2%. DQ -5.7%.
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. 15, 2014, 1:49 PM
- While broader equity markets are only seeing modest declines, tech stocks aren't so lucky. The Nasdaq-100 (QQQ -0.8%) had its lowest print since October this morning before recovering slightly.
- Chinese tech stocks (KWEB -4.3%), including 2013 solar high-flyers (TAN -4.2%), are especially hard-hit following a Shanghai selloff triggered by PBOC withdrawals. Other Internet (PNQI -2.3%) and social media (SOCL -2%) stocks aren't faring much better.
- Will earnings season come to the rescue? Intel and Yahoo report after the bell today, and Google and IBM after the bell tomorrow.
- Tech ETFs: XLK, VGT, FDN, ROBO, SOXL, SKYY, TECL, USD, SMH, IPK, IYW, ROM, TDIV, SOXS, SOXX, KWT, TECS, XSD, IXN, IGV, FTEC, RYT, IGM, PXN, QTEC, PSCT, FXL, IGN, PSI, SSG, MTK, REW, PXQ, XSW, FONE, PSJ, AAIT, PTF, CQQQ, QQQC
- Update: Tech stocks rallied in the final hours of trading. The Nasdaq closed up 0.3%.
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
Mar. 10, 2014, 3:57 PM
- Chinese Internet and solar names, many of them among the standouts of the 2013/2014 tech rally, are heading into the close with steep losses after the Chinese government reported exports fell 18.1% Y/Y in February (much worse than expected).
- Internet decliners: WUBA -10.7%. YOKU -7.3%. ATHM -7.2%. QUNR -6.4%. NQ -6%. RENN -5.2%. CTRP -5.2%. YY -4.4%. WBAI -4.4%. KONG -5.5%.
- Solar decliners: JKS -6.3%. YGE -5.8%. TSL -6.7%. CSUN -4.9%. CSIQ -4.5%. DQ -4.2%. HSOL -4.5%.
- Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN
Mar. 5, 2014, 8:29 AM
- Canadian Solar (CSIQ) -5.4% premarket after swinging to a Q4 profit but warning of weather-related effects on its top line in the current quarter.
- Q4 solar module shipments totaled 621 MW, up 30% Q/Q and 54% Y/Y.
- Issues downside guidance for Q1, seeing revenue of $415M-$430M vs. $545M analyst consensus estimates and solar module shipments of 470-490 MW, caused by severe winter in North America which delayed construction and recognition of ~$100M in revenue from some utility-scale projects in Canada.
- Expects FY 2014 shipments of 2.5-2.7 GW with revenue of $2.7B-$2.9B, in line with analysts' views, as project revenue recognition is back-end loaded.
- Sales have shifted strongly to Asia and the Americas: In Q4, the Asia region accounted for 62% of sales vs. 39% in the year-ago period, the Americas totaled 32% vs. 20%, and Europe accounted for 5.5% vs. 41% a year ago.
- ETFs: TAN, KWT.
Mar. 4, 2014, 1:34 PM
- With the help of positive earnings news from Trina and Yingli, volatile solar stocks are among the standouts (TAN +6%) on a very good day for equities.
- Trina posted mixed Q4 results, but also issued a strong 2014 module shipment forecast. Yingli has pre-announced its Q4 module shipments will be soundly above prior guidance.
- Notable gainers: SPWR +8.6%. JASO +8%. CSUN +6.6%. CSIQ +7.3%. STRI +10.1%. DQ +8.4%. SOL +6%.
- SunEdison (SUNE +10.5%) is taking off with the help of a Morgan Stanley upgrade. Analyst Timothy Radcliff thinks the commercial-scale solar market could grow to 129GW by 2018, with a rush of activity prior to a 2017 federal tax credit cut. He also thinks SunEdison's solar project yieldco spinoff could sport a $1.6B valuation within 12-18 months, and notes such instruments "trade at premium valuations given [their] predictable and growing cash flows."
- JinkoSolar (JKS +14.8%) is more than recouping yesterday's post-earnings losses with the help of positive commentary. Roth (Buy) notes Jinko's 2014 module guidance of 2.3GW-2.5GW beat the firm's 2.1GW estimate, and thinks Jinko is the first Chinese company to see its non-silicon processing costs drop below $0.40/watt.
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. 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. 5, 2014, 8:29 AM
- Chinese solar firms are said to be weighing a response to U.S. anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on imports of silicon solar PV products from China and Taiwan (TAN; KWT).
- The disputes with the U.S. come after China last year resolved similar disputes with the EU, which accused China of undercutting European competitors by selling solar panels at below-cost price.
- Chinese PV makers have issued strong protests, and a senior executive at Yingli Solar (YGE) reportedly says the first step is to reduce the scope of products being investigated.
- The U.S. has become the second-largest market for YGE, with U.S. shipments taking 27% of its total output, surpassing Europe; ~10% of Jinko Solar's (JKS) production now goes to North America, becoming one of its three top markets.
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. 3, 2014, 3:07 PM
- The recovery in the solar PV sector (KWT +1.9%; TAN +0.8%) should continue into 2014, Needham says, tapping Advanced Energy (AEIS +1.8%) and SunEdison (SUNE +0.8%) as its top picks in the space.
- Needham believes the solar sector will continue to improve due to technology approaching grid parity in several unsubsidized markets; increased availability of financing through a number of private funds and public vehicles; a more balanced supply/demand; and reducing cost structure.
- The firm believes overall worldwide solar installation will grow from 36 GW in 2013 to 42 GW in 2014, driven by rising demand in China, the U.S. and several emerging markets, while demand out of the Europe and Japan will remain stable.
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. 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. 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
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