SAN FRANCISCO ( TheStreet) -- Suntech Power Holdings ( STP) beat the Street on earnings per share and revenues in the fourth quarter. Suntech Power also delivered sorely needed gross margin improvement . Suntech shares finished Thursday up more than 5% on twice its average daily volume of shares traded -- more than 9 million shares traded on Thursday. However, Suntech's performance was only good enough for second-best in solar on Thursday. Solarfun Power Holdings ( SOLF), which reports on Friday morning, was up more than 6%, buoyed by Suntech's outperformance ahead of what is expected to be an outperforming earnings for Solarfun's fourth quarter . Many questions remain outside the boundaries of the earnings release, such as ...
Can Suntech keep its gross margins up in the second half of 2010 when the German market is expected to decline?
Will China move ahead anytime soon with a national feed-in tariff scheme for solar?
How important will Suntech's new Pluto technology for increasing solar efficiency be in improving its average sales price vs. cost model in the near-term?
These questions, and others going beyond the reported fourth-quarter numbers, were covered in Thursday's morning's conference call with Suntech management.