First Solar (FSLR) stock rocketed, then retreated early Friday as analysts ratcheted price targets higher for the solar energy systems provider following its earnings beat late Thursday. Tracking systems maker Nextracker (NXT) added to breakout gains after a Wednesday report. Inverter maker Enphase Energy (ENPH) collapsed after reporting Q2 results late Thursday.
First Solar earnings tripled to $1.59 per share while revenue spiked 30.6% to $811 million. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $1 per share on $722.2 million in sales.
The company announced plans to invest $1.1 billion to build its fifth manufacturing facility in the United States.
The White House applauded the news in a statement Thursday. “Today’s announcement by First Solar, a proud American company, represents another huge investment in American manufacturing and building our supply chains here at home – that’s what Bidenomics is all about,” President Biden said in a statement reported by Reuters.
The company said its Series 7 panels produced at the new facility will be made completely with U.S. components, as required by the Treasury Department to qualify for Inflation Reduction Act tax credits.
First Solar maintained its fiscal 2023 earnings outlook between $7 to $8 per share on $3.4 billion to $3.6 billion in revenue. Operating expenses are seen between $450 million to $475 million, up to $35 million higher than previous estimates. The company expects to sell between 11.8 gigawatts to 12.3 gigawatts of energy this year.
For fiscal 2023, FactSet forecasts earnings jumping to $7.37 per share, compared to a loss of 41 cents in 2022. Revenue is expected to spike 34% to $3.51 billion.
First Solar Sees Upgrade, Raised Price Target
Bank of America upgraded FSLR stock to a buy from neutral Friday and raised its price target to 283 from 202 following the results. There’s a lower risk of momentum slowing based on Q2 execution, BofA analyst Julien Dumoulin-Smith wrote in a research note. The firm expects First Solar to outperform against “broader Cleantech uncertainty” in the industry.
JPMorgan was among a handful other research firms to also lift price targets on FSLR stock. JPMorgan hiked its target to 222 from 192 early Friday but kept a neutral rating on shares. Second-quarter results were well above expectations and plans for a new U.S. manufacturing facility are positive. Analyst Mark Strouse noted that bookings slowed during Q2, but order activity spiked with a series of extended supply contracts. The order activity pushes month-to-date bookings to nearly 8 GW, Strouse wrote.
FSLR stock opened 11% higher early Friday, then pared back to a fractional gain. First Solar is approaching its 2023 high of 232 from mid-May. Up almost 45% so far this year, shares are trading near their highest levels roughly 14 years. FSLR stock is still well below its all-time high of 317 from 2008.
Nextracker opened to a 1.8% gain Friday. Shares broke out to all-time highs on Thursday after the Fremont, Calif.-based company easily beat estimates for its Q1 results late Wednesday.
Nextracker, which went public in February, reported earnings of 43 cents per share on $479.5 million in revenue. FactSet analysts expected earnings of 31 cents per share on $473.7 million in sales. Nextracker’s adjusted earnings for the quarter were 48 cents per share, well above forecasts of 29 cents.
For fiscal 2024, Nextracker sees adjusted earnings between $1.45 to $1.65 per share on $2.2 billion to $2.4 billion in revenue. Wall Street expects full-year earnings of $1.56 per share on $2.28 billion in sales.
NXT stock rose slightly early Friday. Shares vaulted 12.4% to a record high 44.19 Thursday, surpassing the previous high of 43.97 from mid-June.
Enphase, SolarEdge Tumble
Micro-inverter manufacturers Enphase Energy and SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG) both opened to sharp losses. Enphase dived 12% after reporting weaker than expected second-quarter revenue, and guiding third-quarter results well below expectations.
SolarEdge shed 4% in opening trade. The Israel-based outfit reports Q2 results on Tuesday.
You can follow Harrison Miller for more stock news and updates on Twitter @IBD_Harrison
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