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First Solar (FSLR) Postpones FY17 Guidance, Shares Down

Shares of First Solar Inc. FSLR dropped 7.17% yesterday to close at $62.42 after the company refused to offer its fiscal 2017 earnings guidance during the analyst day presentation in New York.

Notably, the stock hit a 52-week high of $74.29 on Mar 18.

During the meeting, the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jim Hughes, said, “We have a lot of moving pieces heading into 2017.” According to him, revenue recognition rules lead to “very lumpy results.”

Ambiguity and volatility were the key factors that resulted in the company’s refusal to offer its fiscal 2017 guidance.

In 2015, First Solar delivered the most impressive results since 2010, with earnings coming in at $5.37 per share, up from year-ago figure of $3.90. However, during its fourth-quarter call, the company reaffirmed its expectations of a decline in 2016 earnings to the $4.00−$4.50 per share band.

It had even lowered its revenue guidance for the year to $3.8–$4.0 billion from $3.9–$4.1 billion projected earlier to reflect project shifts to 2017. First Solar also narrowed the gross margin estimate to 17–18% from 16–18%, while keeping its operating income outlook at $260–$330 million. Nevertheless, First Solar lowered its expectations for operating cash flow to $400–$600 million from $500–$700 million estimated earlier.

Further, in the fourth quarter of 2015, the company’s earnings tanked 15.8% due to lower sales, gross margins and operating income. Quarterly revenues dropped 6.5% year over year as well. Cash and cash equivalents at 2015 end were also down the previous year. Long-term debt, on the other hand, increased year over year.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

First Solar carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other favorably placed stocks in the solar space include JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. JKS, SunPower Corporation SPWR and ReneSola Ltd. SOL, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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FIRST SOLAR INC (FSLR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
RENESOLA LT-ADR (SOL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
JINKOSOLAR HLDG (JKS): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SUNPOWER CORP-A (SPWR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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