FSLR Inches Higher on Upgrade, Price-Target Hikes

The equity earned an upgrade to "positive" from "neutral" at Susquehanna

Digital Content Manager
Aug 2, 2021 at 11:21 AM
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Alternative energy name First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) is attracting some positive analyst attention this morning. The equity earned an upgrade to "positive" from "neutral" at Susquehanna earlier today, as well as a price-target hike to $120 from $89, after the brokerage highlighted the company's solar module demand and pricing. Piper Sandler and CFRA also upped their price targets, to $89 and $81, respectively. At last check, FSLR is up 2.2% at $87.93.

First Solar stock has experienced its fair share of volatility since its Jan. 25, 10-year high of $112.50. The shares have pulled back to the $68 level twice since that peak, with the $96 mark rejecting its latest rally. The equity seems to have recently found a floor at the previously resistant 100-day moving average, though, and sports a 47.7% year-over-year lead. 

Short sellers are already running for the exits. Short interest is down 5.4% in the most recent reporting period, though the 7.01 million shares sold short still make up 7.5% of the stock's available float. Should this pessimism continue to unwind, the equity could surge even higher.

A change of heart in the options pits could create additional tailwinds for the security. Over at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), FSLR's 50-day put/call volume ratio sits higher than 98% of readings from the last year. This means long puts are being picked up at a faster-than-usual rate.

It looks as though this shift is already underway. So far, 4,460 calls have crossed the tape, which is twice what is typically seen at this point, compared to just 908 puts. The most popular is the weekly 8/6 84.50-strike call, followed by the 93-strike call in the same series, with new positions currently being opened at the latter. Buyers of these options expect more upside for FSLR by the end of the week, when these contracts are set to expire.

These options traders are in luck, too, as now may be the perfect time to speculate on the security's next move higher. This is per FSLR's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 38%, which stands in the 10th percentile of readings from the past year, indicating options players are pricing in low volatility expectations at the moment. Plus, the equity's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard sits at 92 out of 100. In other words, First Solar stock tends to outperform these volatility expectations -- a boon for option buyers.

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