SatCon Technology Corp. (SATC:US) led photovoltaic manufacturers including First Solar (FSLR:US) Inc. higher today on speculation that first-quarter equipment orders may have been stronger than expected.
SatCon rose 60 percent to 48 cents a share in New York, the highest since March 1, and First Solar climbed 5.2 percent to $22.50 a share after earlier gaining as much as 12 percent.
SatCon, a Boston-based maker of energy converters for renewable projects, said orders during the first quarter rose 27 percent to about $45 million. Revenue for the quarter was between $22 million to $25 million, matching the low-end of their guidance, SatCon said today in a statement. That provided a book-to-bill ratio, or orders received over units shipped, of about two during the quarter.
“Satcon said their book-to-bill was strong in the first quarter, dramatically better than what we’ve seen over the last few quarters,” said Adam Krop, an analyst at Ardour Capital Partners in New York. “Some people might be looking at that and saying that first quarter demand or volume may be a bit stronger than what was expected.”
A recent drop in solar shares because of concerns about declining incentives in Europe likely contributed to the buying today, analysts said. The Bloomberg Global Leaders (BLGS) Solar index of 37 manufacturers, which recently fell for eight consecutive days from March 23 to April 5, rose 2.6 percent to 37.72, led by First Solar, MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR:US) and Suntech Power Power Holdings Co. (STP:US)
“On Monday, First Solar closed just above $20, which is a psychologically important floor because this was its IPO price from 2006,” Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James in Houston, said today in an email. “It looks like the floor has held, which is a positive for the stock from a technical standpoint.”
“Solar stocks across the board are up today after several very rough weeks,” Molchanov said.
MEMC, which makes polysilicon wafers and builds solar plants, increased 12 percent to a two-week high of $3.74. Suntech, the world’s largest maker of polysilicon panels, rose 7.9 percent to $2.73.
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