Investing

SunPower Manages Earnings Despite Major Sales Drop (SPWR, FSLR, TSL, WFR)

SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) may be proving that not all solar stocks are losers every single day, even if the sales figures were light.  The solar player is one of the top after-hours performers and may be a boost of fresh air for a down and out sector on Friday.

For the fourth quarter, its adjusted earnings were $0.16 EPS on $563.4 million in sales (down almost 40%).  Thomson Reuters was at -$0.12 EPS on $669 million in sales.  Teh surprise earnings managed to keep the interest up. First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL), and MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE: WFR) are all higher in the after-hours as well.

For the first quarter, the company is targeting a loss of -$0.60 to -$0.45 EPS, but the adjusted loss is being put at only -$0.20 to -$0.05 EPS on non-GAAP sales of $500 to $575 million.  Non-GAAP gross margin is being put in a 9% to 11% range with capital spending of $45 to $55 million.

For 2012, SunPower has targeted breakeven results and sales of $2.6 to $3.0 billion.  Its aim is to end with $300 million or more in unrestricted net cash.

SunPower closed up 2% at $7.48 but the stock is up over 12% at $8.40 in the after-hours session.

Here are the moves seen elsewhere in after-hours trading:

  • First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) is up only 0.8% in the after-hours at $40.03.
  • TRINA SOLAR LTD. (NYSE: TSL) is up 2.5% at $9.35 in the after-hours.
  • MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE: WFR) is up 2.5% at $4.78.

It is good to see that earnings can still occur, but it is sad to see just how bad the sales figures are.  Now you understand why these were being called value traps by investors for so long.

JON C. OGG

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