Energy Business

Is Short Interest in Alternative Energy, Solar Stocks Seeking a New Bottom?

Paul Ausick

Short interest among solar and alternative energy stocks mostly increased during the two-week reporting period that ended on May 29. In the solar sector, two of the five companies we watch saw short interest rise, while among the alternative fuel stocks, three of four also had a rise in short interest.

One thing that all nine of these stocks had in common during the two-week period is that days to cover rose. That may be expected when short interest rises, but mostly it was true even for the stocks where short interest fell. This could indicate a lack of enthusiasm for the alt energy and solar stocks in general.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) saw short interest increase by about 4% to 5.58 million shares, which represents 7.6% of the company’s float. Days to cover rose to 2.9. In the two-week short interest period through May 29, shares fell more than 12%. The stock’s 52-week range is $39.18 to $73.78, and it closed at $49.17 on Tuesday, down 1.4% for the day.

SunEdison Inc. (NYSE: SUNE) showed a drop of nearly 21% in short interest to 65.68 million shares. About 24.2% of the company’s float is now short and days to cover rose to seven. In the latest two-week short interest reporting period, the share price rose about 4.4%. The stock closed at $29.35 Wednesday, down 2.2% for the day, in a 52-week range of $13.09 to $31.34.

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SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) short interest rose by 0.6% to 6.83 million shares, or 12.7% of the company’s float. In the short interest period, shares slipped more than 5%. The stock’s 52-week range is $22.75 to $42.07, and it closed at $30.01 on Wednesday, down about 2% for the day. Days to cover rose to 5.7.

SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) saw a short interest fall by 1.6% to 20.9 million shares, or 35.6% of the company’s total float. Days to cover rose to nine. In the two-week short interest period, shares fell by about 4.2%. The stock’s 52-week range is $45.91 to $79.40, and shares closed at $54.90 Wednesday, down nearly 3% for the day.

Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) saw a rise of 4.9% in short interest in the two-week period. Some 8.5% of the total float, 3.59 million shares, were short, and days to cover remained at one. The company’s shares dropped nearly 16% in that time. They closed Wednesday at $31.23, down about 3% for the day, in a 52-week range of $18.68 to $41.12.

FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) had a rise of 4.6% in short interest during the period. About 14.7% of the company’s float, 36.12 million shares, was short and days to cover rose to 13. In the two-week period, the shares lost about 2.4%. The stock closed at $1.15 on Tuesday, down nearly 5% for the day, in a 52-week range of $1.05 to $2.84. When FuelCell Energy reported Monday that fiscal second-quarter sales were down 25%, the share price dropped 5%.

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) saw short interest fall by 4% to 31.11 million shares. Days to cover rose to 12, and about 18.1% of the company’s shares were short. In the final weeks of May, the stock’s share price rose by around 2%. The stock’s 52-week range is $2.32 to $6.47, and shares closed Tuesday at $2.69, down about 1.8% for the day.

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Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) saw a drop of 0.1% in short interest to 16.8 million shares. About 23.8% of the company’s float was short and days to cover rose to 10. Shares fell nearly 12% in the period to May 29. The stock closed at $7.59 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $3.99 to $11.79. The share price slipped by about 0.5% on the day.

Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) saw short interest drop by 4.6% in the two-week period to 4.82 million shares, about 21.3% of the company’s float. Days to cover rose to five. The stock price fell 11% in the two weeks to May 29. The stock closed at $10.77 on Tuesday, up about 0.1% on the day, in a 52-week range of $7.51 to $23.97.