Short Interest Climbs at Chinese Solar Firms

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We have tracked the short interest in the following North American Solar companies as of April 15: Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ), First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), GT Advanced Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: GTAT), MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE: WFR) and SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR).

In the Chinese solar sector we tracked the following short interest changes: JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO), LDK Solar Co. Inc. (NYSE: LDK), Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE: STP), Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL) and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: YGE). For China-based firms, the percentage of shares short is not available because the companies are also listed on other exchanges.

Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) saw short interest drop by 4.8% to 1.92 million shares, about 6.4% of the company’s total float.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) short interest rise by 12.2% to 18.43 million shares, which represents 30.6% of the company’s float.

GT Advanced Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: GTAT) showed a decrease of 5.6% in short interest, to 38.29 million shares, about 32.3% of GT’s float.

MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE: WFR) showed an increase of 1.4% in short interest, to 15.62 million shares, about 6.8% of MEMC’s float.

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) saw short interest jump by 33.1% to 9.15 million shares, 23% of the company’s total float.

JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO) showed a drop of 16.3% in short interest, to 2.66 million shares.

LDK Solar Co. Inc. (NYSE: LDK) saw short interest rise by 0.8% to 3.44 million shares.

Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE: STP) showed a rise of 16.6% in short interest, to 16.6 million shares.

Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL) saw short interest decline of 15.6% to 16.15 million shares.

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: YGE) showed a rise of 50.9% in short interest, to 7.53 million shares.

Short interest is piling up in Yingli as the company looks like the next casualty among the Chinese solar energy players. LDK is teetering on the brink of disaster already, having missed a debt repayment last week. The big thing weighing down both these firms is that it appears that China’s central government will not rescue either of them. Both Trina Solar and JA Solar are better capitalized and could muddle through without government assistance.

The sharp increase in short interest in SunPower could rise even more during these two weeks, if the share price continues to rise. The company is tagging along on the boost in First Solar’s share price and there is no fundamental reason for SunPower stock to keep rising. The company is scheduled to report earnings on May 6.