Will This Price Target Increase Help First Solar (FSLR) Today?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- First Solar (FSLR) has had its 12-month price target increased to $72 from $55, UBS said Thursday. A "neutral" rating has also been reiterated. The firm said the revision was after the Tempe, Ariz.-based business upwardly revised its guidance through to 2016.

At its Analyst Day Wednesday, First Solar provided its three-year sales and earnings guidance with 2016 sales expected to climb to $4.2 billion with net income of $4.25 a share. UBS analysts were previously expected sales of $4 billion and earnings of $2.81 a share. 

"While only 20% of its 2016 sales are contracted, First Solar expects to convert 30% of its pipeline of 10.6GW into backlog during 2014-15 which would represent ~3.2GW or $4.5bn (assuming $.1.40/watt average selling price)," analysts Stephen Chin and Mahavir Sanghavi wrote in the report. 

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates FIRST SOLAR INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate FIRST SOLAR INC (FSLR) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed -- some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. 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, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, FSLR's share price has jumped by 97.13%, 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 0.05 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, FSLR has a quick ratio of 1.53, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 5.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 28.5%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for FIRST SOLAR INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 32.62%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 8.49% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $192.21 million or 41.32% 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.

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