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First Solar Inc. Stock Sell Recommendation Reiterated (FSLR)

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a sell with a ratings score of D . The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 55.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $196.51 million to $87.92 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market, FIRST SOLAR INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $22.32 million or 88.98% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 43.79%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 55.55% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • FIRST SOLAR INC has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, FIRST SOLAR INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.50 versus $7.68 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.61 versus -$0.50).

First Solar, Inc. engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of solar modules using a thin-film semiconductor technology in the United States and internationally. The company is also involved in the design, construction, and sale of photovoltaic solar power systems. First Solar has a market cap of $2.29 billion and is part of the technology sector and electronics industry. Shares are down 22.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

You can view the full First Solar Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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