(First Solar trading story updated for Goldman Sachs conviction buy rating)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- First Solar ( FSLR) is right back near the top of an established trading range, and even for those dubious of technical trading triggers, one has to at least raise the question: Is it again time for a FSLR short?

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First Solar climbed near the $150 mark last week, and on Monday morning, shares of the solar industry bellwether popped by more than 4% after Goldman Sachs added First Solar to its conviction buy list with a price target of $165, and contends that First Solar may exceed the price target by 15%.

It's interesting timing for a buy call on First Solar, since its shares ended last week at the high end of a trading range within which First Solar has failed to move higher in a year and a half.

Last Friday morning, for example, the day after First Solar neared the $150 mark, its shares were back down near the $145 level.

The Goldman Sachs conviction buy call on First Solar may be good for a day or two of bullish action in First Solar shares, but will it keep the shares above what has become an oft-repeated trading ceiling for First Solar? Goldman's recent track record in solar calls isn't perfect either. It's Asian-based solar team told investors to sell shares of China's Jinko Solar ( JKS) in December, and Jinko has risen 33% since the Goldman downgrade.

Goldman's New York-based solar team argues in its First Solar upgrade that its shares are attractive at these levels given that the solar sector will avoid a crash in 2011 and grow at a healthy clip of 13%. Goldman also recommended a buy of Germany's leading inverter company, SMA Solar, and Chinese polysilicon giant, GCL Poly, according to a Bloomberg report detailing the Goldman note.

One major news point moving all solar stocks higher last week was seeming resolution to the yearly debate in Germany over solar subsidy cuts. Even if it dictates lower pricing, solar trading suggests that avoiding the worst-case scenario of a hard cap in Germany was the important battle won for the industry. Skeptics maintain that pricing will fall steeply enough in solar to make this bullish argument look foolish by in 2011.

If First Solar is indicative of trading sentiment in the solar sector, the recent gains among all the solar stocks raises the question of whether a sector that has always been prone to sudden shifts in sentiment is set for one more turn, and this time to the negative. On Monday morning, it wasn't just First Solar, but Jinko Solar and the rest of the low multiple Chinese solar stocks continuing last week's rally.

It's too facile an argument to make as a trigger to trade, but it's always worth considering the peaks and valleys in solar trading. Trina Solar ( TSL), JA Solar ( JASO) and Suntech Power ( STP)continued to move up on Monday. None of these companies is right at the top of its trading range yet, but many of the Chinese stocks are nearing high levels not seen since January 2010, even if none has had as well-defined a trading pattern as First Solar over the past year and a half either.

ReneSola ( SOL) and LDK Solar ( LDK) continued to be among the biggest gainers in the Chinese solar stock group on Monday, with LDK up by close to 7% and Renesola up 3%. Over the past five trading sessions, LDK has set the pace with a 16% gain.

First Solar shares climbed 9% since last week.

Street analysis isn't going to be based on trader lingo like "resistance levels" and "trading floors," and there are plenty of analysts that have First Solar price targets well above Thursday's close. However, the First Solar chart can't be entirely ignored. From mid-2009 through the present, First Solar shares have traded in a range that has rarely deviated from the $120 to $150 mark.

In light of the First Solar trading pattern, and the fact that solar is a heavily shorted, and short-term trader friendly sector, as First Solar reaches its "resistance point" above the $150 mark, it's probably at least a fair moment to reflect on what positive and negative catalysts could move First Solar shares one way or another in the near-term beyond Goldman Sachs call to buy shares of the U.S. solar company.

As Aaron Chew, analyst at Hapoalim Securities noted, one doesn't have to be a technical trader -- which he isn't -- to look at the First Solar trading chart and at least acknowledge an established trend. The analyst doesn't see a concrete negative catalyst to drive down First Solar right now, and says he wouldn't short a stock just because it has the tag of being "expensive," but says it's fair to run through the likely trading triggers that are coming in the next few months.

In the least, the Hapoalim analyst thinks that something "very dramatic impacting the entire industry would have to happen to drive First Solar up significantly more." Let's consider the possibilities....

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