October 29, 2010
Wall Street analysts offer buy, sell, or hold opinions on stocks in the news on Oct. 29
First Solar: Miller Tabak equity analyst Chris Kettenmann maintained a buy rating and $190 price target on shares of First Solar (FSLR), the world's biggest maker of solar power panels, on Oct. 29.
On Oct. 28, First Solar said third-quarter profit climbed 15 percent on higher sales in Germany and Canada. Net income rose to $176.8 million, or $2.04 a share, from $153.3 million, or $1.79 a share, a year earlier, the Tempe (Ariz.) company said in a statement. Profit was expected to be $1.69 a share, the average of 27 analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales increased to $797.9 million from $480.9 million.
The company said it foresees 2010 earnings per share (EPS) in a range of $7.50 to $7.65, vs. its previous forecast, issued in July, of $7.00 to $7.40.
First Solar plans nearly to double global production capacity to 2,700 megawatts in 2012, from about 1,400 megawatts this year, as its lowest-cost technology wins orders from Germany to Vietnam.
"First Solar appears well-positioned going into 2011, and we believe the company is poised for accelerated cost reductions from conversion efficiency gains," Kettenmann wrote in a note. "We believe management is telegraphing a meaningful increase of efficiencies at scale over 2011 with continued gains through yearend."
Kettenmann noted that the company is "upbeat" on North America market growth and "appears focused on further diversifying its end-market portfolio" away from Germany in 2011 and beyond, lowering risk from sales historically weighted to the German market. He said the company highlighted such emerging markets as Australia, India, and China on its earnings call as "significant new end markets with high growth potential."
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