Thursday, January 24, 2008

Squawk Box Trade of the Day: Seeing turnaround potential for First Solar (FSLR)

Thompson via CNN Money:

Phoenix-based First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) Inc. is being dragged down by the earnings result of solar peer SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ:SPWR) , after SunPower reported slightly lower-than-expected first-quarter earnings guidance, which was all it took to send most high-momentum solar stocks reeling.

It has a similar ticker, but in the minds of Thomson Squawk Box, First Solar is a different beast than the other solar names. It should be evaluated as part of the group, but also on its own.

First Solar is the only company using large scale thin-film technology, not silicon wafers. Thin-film solar technologies were about 7% of the total market in 2006, roughly double the market share in 2003. There's an opportunity for First Solar's technology to grab as much as 20% of the total solar market share in the next two to three years. We think, on a technology basis, it really stands out versus the rest of the solar crowd.

The business is running very well. It delivered 58 cents a share versus the 20-cent consensus last quarter. The estimate for 2008 is $1.98 a share. The 2009 estimate isn't published yet, but analyst estimates are for $4.51 a share, more than double the expected 2008 results....MORE