Zacks Investment Research Upgrades First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) to Strong-Buy

First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday, February 7th. The brokerage currently has a $73.00 price objective on the solar cell manufacturer’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price points to a potential upside of 13.67% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “First Solar continues to focus on retaining its competitive edge and aims to further consolidate its position in the solar market.  In fact, First Solar’s constant product innovation efforts will continue to attract customers and expand its revenue stream. It is able to develop economically sustainable businesses as it has established its expertise in PV generation solutions as well as in other areas of the solar-value chain. The company looks to strengthen its presence in the Middle East, Australia, Japan and India and also expand operations into countries like France, Israel, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. The company also outperformed the broader industry in the last year.  However, the company faces intense competition from manufacturers of crystalline-silicon solar modules, and other types of solar modules and PV systems.”

FSLR has been the topic of a number of other reports. Vetr cut First Solar from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating and set a $65.52 price objective on the stock. in a report on Thursday, January 11th. BidaskClub cut First Solar from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Saturday, January 6th. Needham & Company LLC restated a “buy” rating and set a $65.00 price target on shares of First Solar in a research note on Friday, December 1st. Robert W. Baird reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $53.00 price objective on shares of First Solar in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and set a $65.00 price objective (up previously from $50.00) on shares of First Solar in a research report on Thursday, November 30th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and eleven have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $66.60.

First Solar (NASDAQ FSLR) traded up $1.70 on Wednesday, reaching $64.22. The company had a trading volume of 1,730,300 shares, compared to its average volume of 2,159,774. First Solar has a 12-month low of $25.56 and a 12-month high of $76.61. The firm has a market capitalization of $6,700.00, a PE ratio of -15.43 and a beta of 2.08. The company has a quick ratio of 6.47, a current ratio of 6.85 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.06.

In other news, COO Philip Dejong sold 15,304 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, January 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $67.83, for a total transaction of $1,038,070.32. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now directly owns 10,424 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $707,059.92. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Mark R. Widmar sold 20,270 shares of First Solar stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $64.40, for a total transaction of $1,305,388.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 100,754 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $6,488,557.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have sold 46,858 shares of company stock valued at $3,134,015. Corporate insiders own 0.58% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. Suffolk Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of First Solar in the 3rd quarter valued at $1,576,000. Vident Investment Advisory LLC acquired a new position in shares of First Solar during the 3rd quarter valued at $2,720,000. Janus Henderson Group PLC acquired a new position in shares of First Solar during the 3rd quarter valued at $1,519,000. Wells Fargo & Company MN lifted its holdings in shares of First Solar by 307.0% during the 3rd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 111,843 shares of the solar cell manufacturer’s stock valued at $5,132,000 after acquiring an additional 165,863 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Scott & Selber Inc. acquired a new position in shares of First Solar during the 3rd quarter valued at $1,472,000. Institutional investors own 51.00% of the company’s stock.

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About First Solar

First Solar, Inc is a provider of photovoltaic (PV) solar energy solutions. The Company designs, manufactures and sells PV solar modules with a thin-film semiconductor technology. The Company also develops, designs, constructs and sells PV solar power systems that primarily use the modules it manufactures.

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