AP News

Ahead of the Bell: First Solar


NEW YORK (AP) — First Solar tumbled 14 percent before Wednesday's opening bell after the company posted disappointing sales for the fourth-quarter and offered a weak early outlook for the year.

While the company reversed a year-ago loss, revenue was well short of what Wall Street was looking for.

Investors were also rattled after the company withheld guidance for the full year.

Jefferies & Co. said that uncertainty will remain until at least April 9, when First Solar holds an analyst day on April 9. Analyst Scott Reynolds stood by his "hold" rating on the shares, saying margins were better than expect in the final quarter of the year, but he also noted that the Tempe, Ariz., company provided limited visibility on margins for new projects.

Citi analyst Shahriar Pourreza, who rated First Solar at "buy," is also waiting for the analyst meeting in New York, where he expects full-year guidance and a more defined outlook for the next three years.

Solar companies are still wrestling with oversupply and shares across the sector took a hit Tuesday when Trina Solar fell short of expectations for the fourth-quarter.

Shares of First Solar Inc. fell $4.37 to $26.99 in premarket trading. The stock has posted steady gains over the past several months, more than doubling since the end of May.


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