Hold Recommendation Reiterated For First Solar Inc.

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a hold with a ratings score of C. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and reasonable valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, FSLR's share price has jumped by 93.54%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year.
  • FSLR's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.06 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.05, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • 38.07% is the gross profit margin for FIRST SOLAR INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, FSLR's net profit margin of 6.46% significantly trails the industry average.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 69.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $110.98 million to $33.60 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $222.37 million or 48.10% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.

First Solar, Inc. provides solar energy solutions. It operates in two segments, Components and Systems. The Components segment engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of solar modules that convert sunlight into electricity. First Solar has a market cap of $3.8 billion and is part of the technology sector and electronics industry. Shares are up 26.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

You can view the full First Solar Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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