NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares in SolarCity Corp. (SCTY) are down -3.83% to $55.31 on Thursday after a Pennsylvania law firm announced it is investigating the company over potential claims concerning violations of federal securities laws.
The investigation is focusing on statements issued by the solar energy company between March 6, 2013 and March 18, 2014 concerning the company's financial performance.
The investigation will look into allegations that during the foregoing period the company was under pressure from investors to demonstrate the strength of its solar energy operations.
Pressure from investors resulted in the company failing to properly allocate expenses between the company's Solar Energy Systems Sales and its smaller Operating Leases segment, in order to hide the sales segment's ballooning expenses.
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TheStreet Ratings team rates SOLARCITY CORP as a Sell with a ratings score of D+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate SOLARCITY CORP (SCTY) a SELL. This is driven by some concerns, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its weak operating cash flow, poor profit margins, generally high debt management risk and feeble growth in its earnings per share."
Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$8.43 million or 113.02% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
- The gross profit margin for SOLARCITY CORP is rather low; currently it is at 20.82%. It has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the weak results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 56.43% has significantly outperformed against the industry average.
- The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.08 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Regardless of the company's weak debt-to-equity ratio, SCTY has managed to keep a strong quick ratio of 1.89, which demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
- SOLARCITY CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, SOLARCITY CORP reported poor results of -$0.75 versus -$0.56 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 244.0% in earnings (-$2.58 versus -$0.75).
- Compared to other companies in the Electrical Equipment industry and the overall market, SOLARCITY CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: SCTY Ratings Report