Peabody, Arch Coal, First Solar Slip to 52-Week Lows

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Peabody Energy ( BTU), Arch Coal ( ACI) and First Solar ( FSLR) hit 52-week lows on Wednesday.

Peabody Energy

"We reiterate our buy recommendation and believe Peabody is well positioned to take advantage of growing coal demand from China. BTU is trading at a 50% discount to our 2013E PMV of $61 which gives the company a significant margin of safety," Gabelli analysts wrote in a report Tuesday.

Shares of Peabody Energy hit a 52-week low on Wednesday of $28.18. The stock's 52-week high of $73.95 was set on April 4.

Peabody Energy has an estimated price-to-earnings ratio for next year of 6.61 times; the average for coal companies is 12.21. For comparison, both Walter Energy ( WLT) and Consol Energy ( CNX) have higher forward P/Es of 8.02 and 11.33, respectively.

Twenty-two of the 30 analysts who cover Peabody Energy rated it buy. Six analysts gave the stock a hold rating and two rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Peabody Energy a C+ grade and a hold rating. The stock has fallen 13.77% year to date.

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Arch Coal

"We remain comfortable with our Neutral rating on ACI," Davenport analysts wrote in a March 22 report. "We think ACI has the greatest risk of cutting production and guidance. We estimate that only 80-85% of the company's thermal volume guidance is under contract in 2012. Given the current thermal market dynamics we expect the company to have difficulty placing additional volume for 2012 delivery."

Shares of Arch Coal hit a 52-week low of $10.60 on Wednesday. The stock's 52-week high of $36.99 was set on March 31, 2011.

Arch Coal's forward P/E is 8.76; the average for coal companies is 12.21. Alpha Natural Resources' ( ANR) forward P/E is 39.37.

Fifteen of the 29 analysts who cover Arch Coal rated it hold. Eleven analysts gave the stock a buy rating and three rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives Arch Coal a C grade and a hold rating. The stock has fallen 26.46% year to date.


First Solar

"As many investors had anticipated a higher tariff, the recent modest rally in First Solar shares may have been due to an assumption that higher tariffs on Chinese companies would be positive for First Solar," Canto Fitzgerald analysts wrote in a March 20 report.

First Solar hit a 52-week low on Wednesday of $24.50. The stock's 52-week high of $163 was set on April 1.

First Solar's forward P/E is 5.79; the average for renewable energy equipment companies is 8. For comparison, SunPower ( SPWR) and Solar Power ( SOPW) both have higher forward P/Es of 11.84 and 7.14, respectively.

Twenty-seven of the 39 analysts who cover First Solar rated it hold. Six analysts gave the stock a buy rating and another six rated it sell.

TheStreet Ratings gives First Solar a C- grade and hold rating. The stock has declined 26.04% year to date.

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-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian

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