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First Solar Tops Estimates as U.S. Sales Boost Revenue

First Solar topped analysts' earnings and revenue expectations. The shares wavered.
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Shares of First Solar  (FSLR) - Get First Solar Inc. Report were wavering on Thursday after the solar energy company reported first-quarter results that topped analyst estimates. 

The Tempe, Ariz., company earned $1.96 a share on revenue of $803 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.03 per share on revenue of $785 million. 

“[Demand] for our Series 6 technology continues to be robust,” Chief Executive Mark Widmar said in a statement. Module-segment gross-profit margin was in line with the company's first-quarter guidance, the CEO said.

First Solar shares at last check were 0.5% higher at $87.71. They closed the regular Thursday trading session off 1.6% at $87.29.

The company said U.S. project sales drove its revenue jump in the quarter. 

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As a result, the company raised the top end of its 2021 revenue guidance, so it now ranges $2.85 billion to $3.03 billion. The previous top was $3 billion. Analysts are expecting revenue of $2.97 billion, according to FactSet. 

The company also lowered the bottom of its gross-margin guidance for the year, now pegging it at $695 million instead of $710 million. 

First Solar said that it completed the previously announced sale of its utility-scale solar-project platform of 10 gigawatts to Leeward Renewable Energy earlier this month.

Analysts at Citigroup recently upgraded  the stock to buy and raised their price target on First Solar to $100 a share from $88.

Analyst J.B. Lowe sees U.S. trade policy benefiting the company, including the extension of Section 201 tariffs on imported Chinese panels and possible sanctions against Xinjiang-sourced solar products.