North Coast Solar Stocks

June 25, 2009

First Solar shares fall following analyst day

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:41 pm

Shares of First Solar decline as analysts mixed following meeting with company in Las Vegas

Thursday June 25, 2009, 12:41 pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of First Solar (FSLR) fell on Thursday, a day after the company hosted its first analyst day in more than a year.

At the Las Vegas meeting, the company predicted costs to decrease to between 52 cents and 63 cents per watt by 2014, compared with earlier estimates of between 65 cents and 70 cents per watt by 2012. First Solar said its capital spending per watt, which is now at 80 cents per watt, is expected to fall to a target of 50 cents per watt by 2014.

Analysts had mixed reactions to the company’s outlook.

Pacific Crest analyst Mark Bachman said the company’s update was “solid, but that was expected,” citing First Solar’s assurance of controlled manufacturing costs, manageable pricing and “outperforming” financial model. “The stock remains attractive,” Bachman said, rating it “Outperform,” with a $231 price target.

Canaccord Adams analyst Jonathan Dorsheimer said the impact of the solar company’s meeting was “modestly negative,” but that didn’t bump it from its seat as “the leading solar company” in his view. Dorsheimer downgraded the company to “Hold” from “Buy,” citing a lack of positive catalysts and a change in the company’s focus that will lower gross margins but increase income in absolute terms.

“We believe that the decreasing margin profile may turn some investors off until the higher income and cash flows actually materialize,” Dorsheimer said. His price target remains at $180.

Deutsche Bank analyst Steve O’Rourke maintained a “Hold” rating, raising his price target to $170 from $167.

“We believe First Solar is uniquely positioned as one of a select few companies that can effectively drive solar photovoltaic beyond heavily subsidized markets in the coming few years,” said O’Rourke. “We expect this to solidify the company’s market leadership position and substantially grow market share.”

The nation’s largest solar panel maker saw its stock tumble $6.05, or 3.6 percent, to $164.86 in Thursday morning trading.

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