Investing

Analyst Shows Which Solar Stocks Will Blow Away Earnings

Lee Jackson

While most of the S&P 500 companies are in the process of winding up the second-quarter earnings onslaught, the solar stocks are on-deck and getting ready to step up to the plate. Much of Wall Street is very positive on the stocks, but there is always a large bear contingent expecting the worse. The bottom line for investors is the sector has turned around, and the top stocks may be poised for earnings surprises.

A new report from Baird stresses that while industry fundamentals are very positive, expectations have been set very high for this quarter’s reporting season. With that in mind, the analysts still have three top stocks rated Outperform, and each one has the ability to possibly crush earnings estimates when they do report.

Nearly every reporting season at least one of the top solar stocks absolutely knocks the ball out of the park. The question this time may not only be who will it be, but how much can it beat earnings by and lift guidance for the rest of 2014.

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First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) is expected to report extremely solid results on August 4. The Baird analysts feel that earnings at the company will be strengthened by the sales of Macho Springs and Silver State South. They also point out that while booking will be in focus, it could even be stronger than anticipated with the addition of two new projects. The Baird estimates appear to be way below the Wall Street numbers, so execution will be critical. The Baird price target for the stock is a gigantic $87. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $65.93. The stock closed Thursday at $63.30.

SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) is a pure-play leader in the fast growth, roof-top solar as a service market. With many long-term contracts providing visibility into future cash flows, the company is a top stock for risk-tolerant investors to own. The Baird team thinks that the company will report a record quarter for deployment and bookings on August 7. While they are somewhat cautious given the recent rise in the stock price, and historical volatility around earnings time, the Baird team maintains their $80 price target. The consensus target is $84.22, and the stock closed Thursday at $72.16.

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) offers solar power products, including panels, balance of system components and inverters. It also designs, manufactures and sells high-performance rooftop and ground-mounted solar power systems, as well as utility-scale photovoltaic power plants. The Baird analysts anticipate that the company will provide an update on its Fab 4 capacity expansion of approximately 25%, as well as its current efficiency rates. They continue to favor the stock due to strong management, technology backbone and arguably best sales channels. The Baird price target is set a bold $48, and the consensus is at $39.89. Shares closed on Thursday at $38.09. The company reports earnings on July 31.

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