Just over a week ago, several solar stocks had a nice jump as the DJIA rose some 200+ points. Not all the gains were made by simply hanging on the Dow’s coat tails. There was some good news from the solar sector as well.
Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL) received an upgrade following a strong earnings report and an increase in its forecast for shipment volumes. That boost propelled shares in China Tech Development Group Corp.(NASDAQ: CTDC), STR Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: STRI), Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE: STP), Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. (NYSE: YGE), and LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (NYSE: LDK) to gains of between 4.7% and 8.2% in a single day.
Share price moves in the solar sector have varied widely. Low-cost module makers like JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO) and Solarfun Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: SOLF) have prospered as crystalline PV costs have fallen. Similarly, wafer makers and thin-film PV module makers have not done as well. MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE: WFR), SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWRA), and Suntech, a thin-film PV maker, are lagging.
Here’s a quick look at three firms that are trading well above their 52-week low, and three firms that are not.
Solarfun’s 52-week trading range is $4.48-$12.30, and it is trading today at around $11.50, up 155% from its 12-month low. Shares are trading today down less than 1%.
JA Solar shares have traded in a 52-week range of $3.57-$7.35, and shares are trading at about $7.10 today, up 98% from the 52-week low. Trina Solar shares are also trading 98% above their 52-week low, at about $27.50. Trina Solar’s 52-week range is $13.92-$31.19.
Among the lower performing stocks, MEMC shares have traded in a 52-week range of $9.19-$19.31. The shares are trading today around $10.75, up 17.5% from their lows.
Suntech shares have traded in a 52-week range of $7.53-$18.78, and trade today at about $9.00, up 19.3% from the 52-week low.
Sunpower shares have traded in a 52-week range of $9.61-$33.97, and are trading today at about $29.50, up 22% from the 52-week low.
Solar shares, as a group are performing well, but some are just performing better. Low-cost manufacturing, a solid order book, and the ability to add capacity, especially for crystalline PV, seem to make the difference between stocks that perform well and those that perform exceptionally well.