Latest Bull Note Sends First Solar Stock to New High

The solar shares are now trading above a long-term level of resistance

Apr 19, 2018 at 11:39 AM
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First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) topped out at a six-year high of $77.25 earlier, after Baird raised its price target on the solar stock to $85 from $82. And while FSLR shares have since turned lower amid broad-market headwinds -- down 3% to trade at $75.52 -- they are holding above the $74-$75 region, which has been a stiff ceiling for the shares since 2014.

Today's strong start just echoes FSLR stock's longer-term uptrend, with the shares boasting a 187% year-over-year lead. In fact, the shares had their best day since Jan. 11 yesterday -- tacking on 6.7%, on a fresh "buy" rating from BofA-Merrill Lynch and tailwinds from SunPower's (SPWR) well-received buyout of SolarWorld's U.S. division. This had the equity's 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) closing near overbought territory last night, which may explain some of today's downside.

Nevertheless, there's certainly room for more analysts to upwardly revise their outlooks on First Solar stock. Despite the stock's impressive advance over the last 12 months, seven brokerages still maintain a lackluster "hold" rating, while the average 12-month price target of $73.14 stands at a discount to current levels.

Options traders appear to be betting on additional upside, too. Amid relatively low absolute volume, the stock's May 80 call has seen the biggest rise in open interest over the past 10 days, and data from Trade-Alert points to buy-to-open activity here. If this is the case, call buyers expect FSLR to topple the round $80 mark by the close on Friday, May 18, when the back-month options expire.

This time frame includes First Solar's earnings report, due after the close next Thursday, April 26. The stock has finished higher the day after earnings in three of the past four quarters, averaging a gain of 13.73%. Over the past eight quarters, FSLR stock has swung 11.3% the next day, regardless of direction.

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