First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) faces yet another blow. Yesterday, Goldman Sachs analyst Brian Lee reduced the price target on the stock from $45 to $42, while reiterating the Sell rating. That represents about 20% downside from the current stock price. Shares of the solar systems maker plunged as much as 9.12% to close Wednesday at $52.74.
First Solar likely to keep underperforming near-term
On Tuesday, First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) released disappointing fourth quarter results and issued pessimistic Q1 guidance. The Tempe, Arizona-based company reported 89 cents in non-GAAP Q4 earnings with $768 million in revenues. Wall Street was anticipating 99 cents in EPS and $965.4 million in revenues. What’s more, First Solar issued the current quarter revenue guidance of $800-$900 million, which was at the low end of the Wall Street consensus. The company said it expects Q1 earnings to come in the range of $0.50-$0.60, well below analysts’ estimate of $0.84 per share. But what surprised many is that the company missed its full-year 2013 earnings guidance that it had issued just two months before the end of the final quarter.
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Goldman Sachs said in a research note that it doesn’t see an upside in First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR)’s utility scale business model. The research firm’s checks suggest that the large-scale utility projects in the U.S. don’t have a promising growth outlook. In many growth markets such as India and South Africa, First Solar has been unable to win any project. And projects in Chile and Saudi Arabia have been delayed. Brian Lee says, given First Solar’s business model and growth uncertainty, its strategy is likely to include captive yield co-sponsorship. Lee expects the stock to keep underperforming near-term.
Baird raises its price target on First Solar
On the other hand, Robert W. Baird increased its price target for First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) from $62 to $67 today. On 40 equity analysts, eight have a Buy rating, nine have assigned it Sell rating, and the remaining 23 have a Hold rating on the stock.
First Solar, Inc. shares ticked up 2.39% to $54 in pre-market trading Thursday.