First Solar Guidance Shocks — to the High Side

Print Email

In the disaster zone known as the solar sector, virtually all the news has been bad for so long that anything that smells like good news is jumped on as an excuse to buy the shares. Then today, First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) issues fiscal year 2013 guidance that estimates revenues at $3.8 to $4 billion, far above the consensus estimate of $3.15 billion and very strong compared with even the most optimistic estimate.

The company’s 2013 earnings per share (EPS) guidance calls for $4.00 to $4.50, also well above the consensus estimate of $3.46.

First Solar also set a target for sales of $3.5 to $4 billion in its 2014 fiscal year and $4.2 to $4.8 billion in fiscal year 2015. The EPS target for 2014 is $2.50 to $4.00 and the 2015 target is $4.00 to $6.00.

Shares of First Solar are up about 27% at $34.33 in a 52-week range of $11.43 to $36.98, and the news is lighting a fire under other U.S. solar makers.

We are seeing serious catch-up moves among peers. SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) is up almost 10% at $10.68 on the day. MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE: WFR) is up 6% at $4.55 so far on Tuesday.Guggenheim Solar (NYSMKT: TAN) is up 7% at $16.90. Even SolarCity Corporation (NASDAQ: SCTY), which is on the install side rather than the panels side, is up 3.6% at $19.59. GT Advanced Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: GTAT) is lagging with gains of only 1.2% at $3.38 on the day.