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Trina Beats, But Day of Euro Fears Awaits

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Trina Solar (TSL - Get Report) beat the Street consensus in its pre-market first quarter earnings report on Tuesday morning. It was another day of major market fears about the European Union, though, and most solar shares were trading down in the pre-market session.

On Monday, Yingli Green Energy (YGE) had reported a good first quarter with record gross margins, but Yingli shares ended Monday down again as the macroeconomic fears continued to dominate solar company fundamentals.

As the euro slipped again in trading, Yingli stock was down 5% and Trina Solar stock down more than 7%, early in trading during Tuesday's pre-market session, though pre-market trading in solar shares can be very light.

Trina Solar reported first-quarter earnings of 66 cents per share and revenue of $336.8 million. The Street was looking for earnings of 61 cents and revenue of $330 million.

Trina Solar also outperformed on its own gross margin guidance, generating a gross margin level of 30.9% in the first quarter, above its previous estimate of a 26% to 28% gross margin. Lower polysilicon prices were responsible for the gross margin outperformance.

Trina Solar also edged out its shipment guidance, delivering approximately 193 megawatts of modules in the first quarter, just above the high end of its previous guidance, which had been 190 MW.

The big number in the Trina Solar earning report was the foreign exchange charge, as solar investors continue to worry about solar companies' ability to maintain earnings power in a declining euro environment, compounded by a declining feed-in tariff environment.

Trina Solar had a loss in foreign currency exchange of $14.5 million in the first quarter. The forex loss was net of a gain in fair value of foreign currency hedge gains of approximately $13 million. The forex charge equaled a loss of 21 cents per share.

Trina said it expected gross margins to fall to the high 20s in the second quarter, based on the current exchange rate between the euro and the dollar.
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