This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Sept. 13

Stocks in this article: DELL FSLR RICK OVAS YHOO MSFT HLF

First Solar Stupidity

Remember the radio program where Paul Harvey would famously tell listeners "the rest of the story"?

Here's a 5 Dumbest version featuring our friends at First Solar (FSLR).

Back on Sept. 21, 2011, shares of the solar energy systems provider plummeted 7% after select analysts covering the company were informed it would not seek a $1.9 billion federal loan for its 550-megawatt Topaz project, one of the largest solar projects ever to be constructed. First Solar stock fell an additional 6% the following day, after it confirmed through a press release that the Topaz project would not receive a government loan guarantee.

Because the institutions were able to act on the Topaz information prior to the general public, TheStreet reporter Eric Rosenbaum alertly asked the question on that second day of the selloff of whether First Solar had violated the Securities and Exchange Commission's Fair Disclosure Regulation, known on Wall Street as Reg FD, which stipulates that an officer or director of a company cannot make any disclosure of a material nature about its business on a selective basis.

"Solar market insiders say that as many as five analysts were called on Wednesday by the head of First Solar investor relations, Larry Pollizotto, and told beginning Wednesday morning that First Solar might not get Topaz, but they felt good about the other two projects receiving loan guarantees," wrote Rosenbaum on Sept. 22, 2011, in a column titled "Did First Solar Just Walk a Fine Reg FD Line?"

So what happened to First Solar in the two years since TheStreet broke the news that First Solar was keeping ordinary investors in the dark? That is, other than the stock going on a rollercoaster ride from $80 to $12 to $40?

Well, last Friday the SEC charged Polizzotto, who is no longer with the company, with violating Reg FD on the matter. (For the record, Rosenbaum is no longer with TheStreet either.) Polizzotto agreed to pay $50,000 to settle the SEC's charges, without admitting or denying the findings. The SEC did not bring an enforcement action against First Solar because of "the company's extraordinary cooperation with the investigation among several other factors." (Also for the record, that's a load of crap.)

"Polizzotto offered previously undisclosed information to select analysts and institutional investors and left the rest of First Solar's investors in the dark," Michele Wein Layne, director of the SEC's Los Angeles Office, said in a statement. "All investors, regardless of their size or relationship with the company, are entitled to the same information at the same time."

And now you know the rest of a very, very dumb story.

2 of 5

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,030.21 +6.04 0.03%
S&P 500 2,081.88 -0.29 -0.01%
NASDAQ 4,773.4720 +8.0480 0.17%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs