2 Solar Stocks Spiking After Analyst Upgrades

SPWR stock has added 42% year-to-date

Patrick Martin
Dec 11, 2017 at 10:06 AM
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Solar stocks are gearing up for a strong close to 2017. This morning, shares of alternative energy names, First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) are surging after being upgraded to "outperform" from "neutral" at Baird. Below, we will take a closer look at these bullish brokerage notes, and see how the stocks are performing. 

First Solar Stock is Baird's 'Top Sector Pick'

Baird named First Solar its "top sector pick" due to the company's strong pipeline, as well as its cost and efficiency improvements. In addition to the upgrade, the brokerage firm issued a price-target hike to $82 from $69. This new target represents a 17% increase from the stock's closing price of $70.02 last Friday, and sits in territory not seen since September 2011.

At last check, the equity was up 0.8% to trade at $70.57 -- earlier hitting a new annual high of $71.80. The energy stock added 16% last week alone, after receiving a round of price-target hikes last Wednesday. Longer term, First Solar stock has added an impressive 120% year-to-date.

Nevertheless, short sellers have started to pile on. After six straight months of declining, short interest increased by 12.6% during the last reporting period to 6.26 million shares. This represents a healthy 7.9% of FSLR's total available float, indicating there's sideline cash available to help fuel more upside, should shorts once again start to cover.

SunPower Stock Breaks Above Key Technical Level

Baird also sees blue skies ahead for SunPower, saying sentiment should improve after the company sells its stake in 8Point3 Energy Partners LP (NASDAQ:LP) in the first half of next year. The solar stock also received a price-target hike from to $10 from $7 -- a level not seen since an early August bear gap.

In reaction, the shares are up 12.9% to trade at $9.42 -- breaking through the $9 level, which contained an early November rally attempt. Year-to-date, the stock has tacked on 42.4%.

Many analysts remain downbeat on SunPower stock, though. Of the 12 brokerages covering SPWR, nine rate it a "hold" or "strong sell." A continued pop could have analysts re-evaluating their bearish outlooks.


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