Wednesday, October 26, 2011

First Solar Cuts Profit Forecast, Spending Plans; Possible Reason for CEO's Departure (FSLR)

The stock is up 12.90% at $48.85. A little mystery/history in reverse..
First up, Reuters:
* Sees lower full-year sales, profits
* To slow spending amid weak pricing in market
* Analysts see likely layoffs
* Shares rise as much as 21 pct after Tuesday selloff
First Solar Inc slashed its profit forecast on Wednesday and said it would slow spending as the industry struggles to adjust to the steep decline in the price of solar panels.

Shares of the company, however, rose as much as 21 percent, in a rebound from Tuesday's selloff when the company lost about a quarter of its value after it ousted Chief Executive Rob Gillette.

Even with the rebound, those shares have dropped more than 60 percent so far this year.

Solar makers are suffering amid a 40 percent drop in the prices of the panels which has squeezed profit margins across the industry and driven some companies, including U.S.-based Solyndra, into bankruptcy.
First Solar, which also reported third-quarter profits that appeared to lag Wall Street forecasts, is not expected to suffer that fate, according to analysts.

"Am I afraid of First Solar going out of business? No, I'm not," said Avian Securities analyst Mark Bachman....MORE
And from Benzinga:
Jefferies on First Solar: Weak 4Q Guidance Likely Reason for CEO Dismissal
Jefferies & Company has published a research note on First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) after the company reported 3Q earnings.

In the report, Jefferies writes, "FSLR put its 3Q on the tape, and lowered its FY guide. The magnitude of the weak 4Q guide – almost half its prior guidance – is likely the reason for the CEO dismissal, which is a positive versus worst fears of an accounting restatement, DOE loan scandal, or fraud. It was smart for the board to release the results, but no comments were about the four large projects."

Jefferies maintains its Hold rating and $47 price target on First Solar, which is currently trading up $5.21 from yesterday's $43.27 closing price.