3 Stocks Sinking on the Solar Sell-Off

Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ), First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), and Sunedison Inc (NYSE:SUNE) are each getting roughed up

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Feb 10, 2016 at 10:48 AM

Solar stocks are sinking today, following a bleak forecast from SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY). Among the sector components off to a rough start are Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ), First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), and Sunedison Inc (NYSE:SUNE). Below, we'll take a look at what's happening to this trio on the charts, and how option traders may be reacting.

CSIQ was last seen slightly lower at $17.75, bringing its year-to-date loss to nearly 39%. In addition, the shares are now approaching their 80-month moving average, which served as support late last year, and has never been breached on a monthly closing basis.

In spite of these troubling technicals, optimism is sky high on Wall Street. CSIQ's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) call/put volume ratio of 2.91 ranks in the 72nd percentile of its annual range. What's more, 100% of covering analysts rate the shares a "strong buy." Unless Canadian Solar Inc. can right its ship quickly, a capitulation among these optimists could result in more selling pressure.

FSLR is far better off long term, and has been stair-stepping its way higher since late September thanks to some bounces off its 50- and 80-day moving averages. The shares are bucking this trend today, down 2.7% at $64.71, which may be a positive development for a recent crop of put buyers.

Specifically, FSLR's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX put/call volume ratio of 1.93 outstrips 99% of all other readings from the last 12 months. While some of these traders may be shareholders buying puts as protection, others may be "vanilla" bears betting on even sharper losses for the stock. If First Solar, Inc. can resume its months-long uptrend, an unwinding of the hedges related to these positions could precipitate a burst of buying power.

Finally, SUNE has tanked 6.5% to trade at $2.46. The stock's fall has been fast and furious since hitting a six-year high of $33.45 in late-July, down 92.7% despite some notable outside investments.

That hasn't stopped option traders from placing bullish bets at an accelerated clip, based on Sunedison Inc's 10-day ISE/CBOE/PHLX call/put volume ratio of 4.44 -- in the 71st annual percentile. Likewise, nearly three-quarters of analysts consider the shares worthy of a "buy" or better opinion. Suffice it to say, a mass exodus among these bullish holdouts could create further headwinds for the stock.

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