James Dennin, Kapitall: These 4 green energy stocks have EPS growing faster than their stock price.
In a sign of mounting maturity in the green energy sector, First Solar (FSLR) – one of the biggest names in the industry – has announced that it is re-working its business model to achieve more sustainable growth. While this might seem like a concession of sorts, the market is reacting to the news favorably, sending First Solar on a nearly 2% run throughout the day.
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Most investors are reading the decision as a sensible step forward rather than a potentially risky step back. For an industry that's still getting its sea legs profit-wise, it's important to see firms working in the right direction.The rationale behind the announcement isn't exactly the worst problem to have, anyway. First Solar has worked mostly with large-scale customers and utilities, and capitalized heavily off of new state regulations requiring a certain percentage of energy generation to come from renewable sources. The company made a lot of money by providing states with large-scale solar panel operations. As states reach their quotas, however, the demand for First Solar products slows. Green energy has had a good twelve month return, but many of the largest firms still haven't recovered to pre-recession levels. One of the largest green-energy ETFs, the PowerShares Global Clean Energy ETF (PBD), still trades roughly 9% lower than it did in 2011. Yet, in a sign that things are turning around for the green energy sector, institutional purchasing of green energy firms is on the rise. Of the 200 firms on Kapitall's green energy index, 21 are experiencing spikes in purchasing from groups like hedge funds and pensions – indicating that the financial sector is getting more bullish on green energy as a whole.