Short Sellers Cautious on Solar, Alt Energy Stocks

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Short interest moves among solar and alternative energy stocks were mixed during the two-week reporting period that ended on July 15. Of the companies we watch, short interest rose on three of four solar stocks and three of four alt energy stocks.

SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) was the only solar company to see short interest fall, certainly the result of the company’s acquisition by Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA). Analysts at Oppenheimer recently lowered price targets on the other three stocks we track in the solar sector.

Among the alt energy stocks, Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) short interest rose slightly, but the share price jumped nearly 20%. The increase was likely due to demand for renewable energy credits called RINs and higher exports of ethanol.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) saw short interest rise by 29.4% to 11.22 million shares, which represents 14.9% of the company’s float. Days to cover fell from five to four. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price rose by about 1.1%.Its 52-week trading range is $40.25 to $74.29, and it closed at $48.58 on Tuesday, up 1.2% for the day.

Short interest in SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) rose by 4.2% to 16.33 million shares, or 27.9% of the company’s float. In the two-week period to July 15, the share price rose by about 0.6%. The stock’s 52-week range is $13.29 to $31.10, and it closed at $15.64 on Tuesday, up about 8.3% for the day. Days to cover rose from seven to eight.

SolarCity saw short interest drop by 6.3% to 25.57 million shares, 40.1% of the company’s total float. Days to cover increased from three to seven. In the short interest period, the share price rose by about 3.1%. The stock’s 52-week range is $16.31 to $61.72, and shares closed at $27.43 on Tuesday, down about 0.3% for the day.

Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) saw a drop of 11.7% in short interest during the two weeks to July 15. Some 12% of the total float, 5.33 million shares, were short, and days to cover remained unchanged at three. The company’s share price fell by 2.1% in the period, and shares closed Tuesday at $14.89, up about 0.7% for the day, in a 52-week range of $13.56 to $29.83.

FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) posted an increase of 0.3% in short interest during the two-week period. Some 4.32 million shares were short as of July 15. The stock closed at $5.42 on Tuesday, down about 1.3% for the day, in a 52-week range of $4.51 to $12.24. Shares dropped about 16.7% in the period, and days to cover remained unchanged at six.

Short interest in Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) increased by 1.1% to 27.86 million shares. Days to cover rose from 15 to 18, and about 15.6% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to July 15, the stock’s share price fell by about 7.7%. Its 52-week range is $1.30 to $2.98, and shares closed Tuesday at $1.82, unchanged for the day.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) saw a drop of 9.8% in short interest to 8.03 million shares. About 9.3% of the company’s float was short, and days to cover rose from six to eight. Shares rose by about 1.2% in the first weeks of the month. The stock closed most recently at $3.11, up about 0.7%, in a 52-week range of $2.15 to $6.44.

Pacific Ethanol saw short interest rise by 2.2% in the two-week period to 4.59 million shares, about 12.5% of the company’s float. Days to cover fell from eight to seven. The stock price rose by more than 18% in the period. Shares closed at $6.28 on Tuesday, up 9% on the day, in a 52-week range of $2.41 to $8.26.

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