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AP News

Ahead of the Bell: First Solar

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of First Solar Inc. rose before Friday's opening bell after the solar products maker said its third-quarter net income more than doubled and raised its profit outlook for the year.

In premarket trading, First Solar shares rose $4.64, or 9.2 percent, to $54.95 about an hour before the market opening.

First Solar said it sold more solar modules to some customers and got a boost from the sale of a solar project in Canada.

The company's adjusted profit of $2.28 per share was more than twice the $1.13 per share analysts polled by FactSet expected.

Revenue jumped 51 percent to $1.27 billion, while analysts expected $1.04 billion.

The company boosted its full-year profit prediction to a range of $4.25 to $4.50 per share, above analysts' predictions of $3.76 per share.

But the company cut its revenue expectations, saying that some previously expected revenue may get pushed into 2014. It now expects $3.4 billion to $3.6 billion in revenue, while analysts expect $3.65 billion.

Citi analyst Shahriar Pourreza backed his "Buy" rating for First Solar stock and boosted his price target by $13 to $63, predicting improved profitability down the road stemming from better efficiency, strong global demand and continued interest in solar from U.S. utility companies.

The analyst noted that First Solar booked twice as much work than it shipped during the recent quarter, which was better than expected. In addition, the company appears to be expanding into non-traditional solar markets in the U.S., he said.

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