Friday, April 11, 2008

Market Spotlight: Chipmaker Solar Strife (AMAT; CY; FSLR; TSL; WFR)

From the AP via Yahoo:

Chipmakers Face Challenges in Seamlessly Launching Solar Business in Competitive Market
While some semiconductor companies have entered the rapidly expanding solar power market to prop up lagging chip businesses, there is evidence it may be more difficult than they anticipated to enter a new industry.

Both the solar and semiconductor industries rely on polysilicon as a key component and use similar equipment and technology. That led some semiconductor companies -- like Applied Materials Inc., MEMC Electronic Materials Inc., Micrel Inc. and Cypress Semiconductor Corp. spin-off SunPower Corp. -- to enter the field.

However, some have had more difficulty than others.

Credit Suisse analyst Satya Kumar downgraded Applied Materials shares to "Neutral" from "Outperform" on Monday, saying its stock is "trading purely on solar" without factoring in several risks. Applied stepped into the solar market in 2005 and launched its thin-film solar business last year....MORE

Two points:
1) AMAT is the class of the field, with exposure to both silicon and thin film.
2) Trina was up 9% (and another 1 1/2% after-hours). Don't let this get lost in all the GE posts:

Trina Solar: Cowen Ups Ests Way Above Consensus (TSL)