"Although management seems to be taking the right steps by closing higher cost manufacturing locations, controlling overall operating costs and placing more emphasis on creating demand in new/sustainable markets, we still see headwinds to shares in the current scenario," Deutsche Bank analysts wrote in an April 24 report. "A more appropriate value creating move by management would likely be to sell the current project pipeline to a consortium of strategic investors, in our view. Until management addresses some of the current investor concerns, we expect shares to remain under pressure. Lower price target to $17. Maintain Hold."
Shares of First Solar hit a 52-week low on Wednesday of $17.65. The stock's 52-week high of $142.22 was set on June 30.First Solar trades at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 4.51 times; the average for renewable energy equipment companies is 8.48. For comparison, SunPower (SPWR) has a higher forward P/E of 11.73. Twenty-seven of the 39 analysts who cover First Solar rated it hold. Six analysts gave the stock a buy rating and another six rated it sell. The stock has fallen 46.72% year to date.