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First Solar Inc. Stock Hold Recommendation Reiterated (FSLR)

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a hold with a ratings score of C+. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • FSLR's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 10.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 51.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • FSLR's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.15 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.15, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • FIRST SOLAR INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, FIRST SOLAR INC reported poor results of -$1.19 versus -$0.50 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.13 versus -$1.19).
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, FIRST SOLAR INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for FIRST SOLAR INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 30.14%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 7.83% significantly trails the industry average.

First Solar, Inc. provides solar energy solutions. It operates in two segments, Components and Systems. The Components segment engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of solar modules that convert sunlight into electricity. First Solar has a market cap of $4.8 billion and is part of the technology sector and electronics industry. Shares are up 59.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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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