Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First Solar: Analysts Target $350 to $450 Before Earnings (FSLR)

That $450 figure has a whiff of December '99 about it. Picking a target price is more art than science with the default being projection of the current trend. The last three earnings releases from FSLR resulted in these moves the next day:

Nov. 8 up $57.31; +34.9%
Feb. 13 up $52.90; +30.1%
May 1 down $28.64; -9.8%

So where does it open tomorrow? Beats me, I'm flat.
First up, 24/7 Wall Street:
Despite the drop in oil prices and despite a bear market in general, it is still easy to find those who think some alternative energy stocks are headed much higher. That is still the case for shares of First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR). This morning we have seen a note out of Lazard Capital Markets analyst Sanjay Shrestha still calling for this as a "Buy" ahead of tomorrow's earnings from the solar technology leader. As you look on you'll see that this upside target with an implied 30% gain/goal is actually more conservative than some other more impacting calls out there and his target went up only after last earnings....MORE

Mr. Shrestha is one of the top analysts* in the sector (we also like the folks at Cowen).
And from Tech Trader Daily:
First Solar: Street Optimistic On Tomorrow’s Earnings Rpt

The Street is optimistic about tomorrows Q2 earnings report First Solar (FSLR), by far the biggest U.S.-traded solar stock by market cap. The consensus view is for revenue of $216.9 million and profits of 58 cents a share....Read it all, seriously.

*In late March he put out these targets:
Here are the targets on several stocks:
  • Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ: ENER) maintained BUY with $26.57 current price, target price is $40.00.
  • Evergreen Solar (NASDAQ: ESLR) maintained BUY with $8.39 current price, target price is $15.00.
  • First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) maintained BUY with $209.50 current price, target price is $250.00.
  • SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) maintained BUY with $68.24 current price, target price is $185.00.
  • Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd.(NYSE: STP) maintained BUY with $34.45 current price, target is $90.00.

That ENER call would cover a lot of errors, the stock closed yesterday at $66.42.
And get this, every stock on the list is up.
Granted STP's twenty cent (not percent) increase brings to mind this Warren Buffett quote:
"Now I'm known as a long-term investor and a patient guy, but that is not my idea of a big move."
-Warren Buffett

In this 1999 Fortune article "Mr. Buffett on the Stock Market". Granted the time and tape he was talking about was even worse:

December 31, 1964: DJIA 874.12
December 31, 1981: DJIA 875.00