NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Solar stocks rose suddenly on Friday morning, led by First Solar (FSLR) and JA Solar (JASO), both up by more than 5%. Trading in both First Solar and JA Solar was near daily volume before the mid-day mark.
There was news midmorning on Friday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had resigned, however, crude oil was mixed in trading on the news. The solar trade during the Egyptian crisis has been linked to a rising price of oil, and that wasn't the case as the Mubarak resignation news broke.
If there is an argument to be made that the successful protest movement in Egypt will now be even more likely to cause a Middle East political contagion, and oil prices rise more steeply as regimes like Saudi Arabia come under political pressure, it wasn't reflected in the direction in crude oil on Friday morning.
There was also reportedly a UBS note on Friday morning speculating that new California Gov. Jerry Brown would sign into law an increase in the state's renewable energy standard to 33%. The California Air Resources Board had recommended in late 2010 a new 33% renewable energy mandate.The U.S. is an increasingly important market for solar growth as key European markets led by Germany limit what has been rapid growth. The biggest risk for the solar sector has been the Italian government implementing a cap or some other form of significant revision to its existing solar subsidy scheme. There was no news on Friday morning regarding Italy, though the government is expected to introduce legislation regarding its solar support. If anything, the recent Street view of First Solar has been conservative, with three analysts in the past week downgrading shares to hold based on the recent rally, and arguing that between potential oversupply in the market and lack of short-term catalysts, it was prudent to put the brakes on First Solar buy recommendations. Most of the major solar stocks were up at least 3%, with Yingli Green Energy (YGE) and LDK Solar (LDK) not far behind the biggest gains, rising by 4%. -- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.
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