NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's been a shiver-inducing day for the market, but Chinese solar companies continue to generate heat. Two more Chinese solar companies posted third-quarter earnings that made analyst estimates look modest by comparison, and investors reacted in droves, and quickly. The results from Suntech Power ( STP) and Trina Solar ( TSL) were no surprise, but the market still rewarded the companies with major gains today and a major spike in trading volumes. Trina hit a record earnings level, up 25% to $40 million. The $1.29 per share far outdistanced the analyst expectation of $0.84. Suntech's earnings fell by 30% to $29.8 million, but the share price of $0.16 was well above analysts' estimate of $0.08. SunTech also indicated that fourth-quarter shipments would be at least 10% higher than the previous quarter, in line with optimistic guidance provided by most Chinese solar companies in this earnings period. Trina was trading at twice its average daily volume in the early afternoon, and with a share price of $44, was just off the 52-week high of $45.23 that it had attained earlier in the session. Suntech was up more percentage wise, 5.43% with trading volume of 8.4 million shares, almost double its average level of 4.8 million.
Along with Solarfun Power ( SOLF), which reported strong earnings yesterday, the three Chinese solar companies were the biggest gainers in the industry in early afternoon trading. Solarfun was up 5.25% on massive volume -- 6.83 million shares versus an average of 1.06 million shares. Third-quarter earnings in the sector have highlighted the extent to which Chinese solar players have used their pricing advantage to quickly gain market share on Western competitors. Company executives emphasized that these earnings have shown the extent to which they are establishing their brands as global competitors. Analysts expected today's results to reinforce the strong outlook for the fourth quarter and full year. Trina upped its expected shipment target for the full year shipments to be between 380 MW and 400 MW, compared to its earlier guidance of between 350 MW to 400 MW, representing an increase of 89.1% to 99.0% from 2008. There was some disappointing news in the earnings for both firms, such as the Suntech earnings dip of 30%. Trina experienced a net revenue drop of 14.1% to $249.7 million, but also reiterated an expected 15%-20% manufacturing costs drop. Regardless, the market's response was anything but focused on these lower figures, as the defiance of Street expectations and optimistic outlook for near-term shipments continue to fuel investor interest. The solar industry may be under heat in this earnings period, but the Chinese companies continue to generate it.
The China solar bull was not, however, without its losers in today's session. LDK Solar ( LDK) which had been on a climb all month after hitting a trough on Nov. 2 of $5.23, was down 4.34% in afternoon trading to $7.70. Yesterday it had reached its monthly high of $8.07. On Tuesday it announced plans to sell a 15% stake in its polysilicon plant, which had sent its shares higher yesterday. LDK will report earnings on Nov. 23. -- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.