While Wall Street firms hold and attend conferences for everything imaginable, often a very telling metric for the conference is attendance. At the recent CleanTech conference attendance was up 70% year-over-year. The analysts at UBS attended, and said that the overall tone was very positive. They also commented that demand for the second quarter and the pricing environment appears to be relatively robust. While visibility for the second half of 2014 remains limited, companies they spoke to are generally upbeat about growth and profitability prospects for the remainder of the year.
With recent weakness and low expectations for the solar and LED stocks, now may prove to be an excellent entry point for investors looking to own the space. The UBS team reiterated a rating of Buy on these four top stocks.
Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL) is a global leader in photovoltaic (PV) modules, solutions and services. Founded in 1997 as a PV system integrator, Trina Solar today drives smart energy together with installers, distributors, utilities and developers worldwide. The company reports earnings next week. Aggressive investors could buy a half position in front of the number. The UBS price target is $23. The Thomson/First Call consensus estimate is lower at $20.02. Trina closed trading on Tuesday at $11.27. A move to the UBS target would be more than a 100% gain.
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SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) is a pure-play leader in the fast-growth, roof-top solar as a service market. With many long-term contracts providing visibility into future cash flows, the company is a top name for risk tolerant investors to own. UBS has a gigantic $90 price target for the stock. The consensus number is huge as well at $74.89. SolarCity closed Tuesday at $54.38. A move to the aggressive UBS target would be a large 65% gain for shareholders.
SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) had very strong earnings, and the stock responded well. SunPower is one of the best Middle Eastern and African plays around for the growing solar market there. It has a strong gross margin of 27%, a developing utility pipeline in the region and is in a good position to use Total’s African connections. The UBS price target is $38, and the consensus target is $37.32. SunPower closed Tuesday at $33.77.
Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. (NYSE: YGE) may be the ideal stock for aggressive investors looking to acquire a large share position. The company is the world’s largest PV module manufacturer in terms of production capacity and shipments. Yingli’s manufacturing covers the PV value chain from ingot casting and wafering through solar cell production and module assembly. UBS has a $6 price target, while the consensus is just below that at $5.88. The stock closed Tuesday at $3.03. A move to the UBS target would be almost a 100% gain for shareholders.
Clearly the clean technology revolution is making headway as a provider not to just residential, but commercial companies, especially the big utilities. Aggressive investors, especially those with a long-term horizon, may want to carve out a percentage in their portfolio for a position in one or more of these top names.