Friday, January 30, 2009

SunPower Soars On Strong Q4; Betting On Looser Credit

Eric Savitz has a follow-up to "SunPower Q4 Profits Top Ests; Sets Broad ‘09 Targets".
From Tech Trader Daily:

Wow, the bears on SunPower (SPWRA) aren’t having a very good day. The solar module provider late yesterday posted better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter, and an outlook for 2009 that suggests strong growth, assuming the credit markets loosen. With the Street bracing for the worst heading into the quarter - one analyst even launched coverage yesterday morning with a Sell rating - the shares have rebounded impressively.

But as the skeptics on the stock point out, to buy it here is a bet on improvement in the credit markets. As I noted yesterday, SunPower said it expects 2009 revenue of $1.6 billion to $2 billion, with profits of $2.20 to $2.80 a share. The company said that reaching the high-end of the revenue and earnings ranges will depend on improved access to the project financing markets. And it also said that first-half performance will be “materially affected by seasonal factors and the continuing impact of the credit crisis.”

Weirdly, the company did not give any guidance at all on the first quarter.

While the bulls rule the day, thanks to the strong earnings - and perhaps some panicky short covering - the bears make a reasonable case:

  • Jesse Pichel, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, today repeated his Buy rating on the stock this morning, but notes that “financing remains the biggest swing for SPWR’s guided revenue range and the industry is very much a call on credit in our opinion.” In other words, buying solar stocks here is a bet that currently tight credit market conditions are going to loosen....MORE