Energy Business

JPMorgan Solar Picks and Pans (ENER, ESLR, FSLR, ASTI, SPWRA)

Douglas A. McIntyre

JPMorgan has decided to make some key solar ratings changes this morning.  The firm is cautious on the valuation of some in the position of a declining market trend right now, but there are some key takeaways here that are up as well.  Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENER) and Evergreen Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: ESLR) are up, while shares of First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) are getting slapped on this call today.

Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTI) was upgraded to Neutral from Underweight; no trade indications have been seen as this is a low-impact change.  Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENER) was initiated with an Overweight; shares are trading up 4%.  Evergreen Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: ESLR) was the surprise winner as it was upgraded to Overweight from Underweight; its shares are up 10% at almost $2.40 in pre-market trading.  SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWRA) was also upgraded, but only to “Neutral” from Underweight; no trade indications have been yet.

The standout in the group is unfortunately the leader of the whole solar sector.  First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) downgraded to Neutral from Overweight.  Shares are still seeing thin volume but are indicated down 2% at $152.00.

As a group, JPMorgan thinks it is best to remain defensive and cautious because of a double-dip possibility.  The Evergreen and Energy Conversion ratings are based on less downside risk.  There is a fear of continued subsidy cuts in Germany and the EU, and that is the pan for First Solar.

Jon C. Ogg
July 2, 2009