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Solar Winners: First Solar, SunPower

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Finally, a day during which U.S-based solar companies are outperforming their Chinese peers. It seems as if it's been a long time since the market shined on U.S. solar companies as it did today.

But was the run-up in First Solar (FSLR) and SunPower (SPWRA) justifiable? Maybe about as justifiable as the big run-up in Chinese stocks in the current quarter -- which means that question deserves a big question mark.

And an answer to these questions won't be provided by solar analysts, who are far from in one camp, or even anywhere close to one camp, when it comes to these companies and the way investors trade them day to day.

First Solar was up 5.2% at the market close on close to twice the average daily volume of shares traded -- 5.2 million shares traded today versus 2.8 million on average. SunPower was up more than 4.6% at the close of trading, though its volume was only slightly higher than its average -- 3.5 million versus 3 million.

SunPower is an obvious question mark, as buying the shares of a company currently accused of accounting fraud and facing 30 or so class-action lawsuits is something of a high-risk endeavor. Indeed, when Pacific Crest Securities recently raised its rating on the SunPower, it did so with a disclosure that investors should also buy antacid.

There is some belief on The Street that the 20% hit SunPower shares already took has made the company an opportunistic buy. That's the kind of logic, however, that makes Gordon Johnson, analyst at Hapoalim Securities, apoplectic. "Fifteen bucks would be my target. And how can you even invest in a company that's been accused of accounting fraud?"

Still, investors were doing just that today, driving SunPower up to $22.50 or a gain of $0.98.

Stock quotes in this article: FSLR, SPWRA 

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