First Solar (FSLR) Upgraded to “Buy” at Bank of America

First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) was upgraded by research analysts at Bank of America from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a report issued on Wednesday, The Fly reports.

Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Zacks Investment Research cut First Solar from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, February 6th. BidaskClub upgraded First Solar from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, February 16th. ValuEngine upgraded First Solar from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Sunday, December 31st. Vertical Group assumed coverage on First Solar in a report on Thursday, January 11th. They set a “buy” rating for the company. Finally, Guggenheim reiterated a “neutral” rating on shares of First Solar in a report on Thursday, January 18th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating, twelve have assigned a buy rating and two have given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. First Solar currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $70.15.

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FSLR stock opened at $72.68 on Wednesday. The stock has a market cap of $7,345.50, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.06, a PEG ratio of 4.09 and a beta of 1.96. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.07, a current ratio of 5.89 and a quick ratio of 5.63. First Solar has a 1 year low of $26.41 and a 1 year high of $76.61.

First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) last released its earnings results on Thursday, February 22nd. The solar cell manufacturer reported ($0.25) earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.31) by $0.06. The firm had revenue of $339.00 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $459.93 million. First Solar had a positive return on equity of 5.17% and a negative net margin of 5.63%. The company’s revenue was down 29.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.24 EPS. sell-side analysts forecast that First Solar will post 1.7 earnings per share for the current year.

In related news, CEO Mark R. Widmar sold 20,574 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $63.90, for a total value of $1,314,678.60. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 78,634 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,024,712.60. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Bryan Robert Schumaker sold 933 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.00, for a total transaction of $65,310.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 30,457 shares of company stock valued at $2,004,033 in the last 90 days. 0.54% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of FSLR. New York State Common Retirement Fund lifted its stake in First Solar by 2.2% in the 3rd quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 211,300 shares of the solar cell manufacturer’s stock valued at $9,694,000 after purchasing an additional 4,500 shares during the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. lifted its stake in First Solar by 156.2% in the 3rd quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 43,978 shares of the solar cell manufacturer’s stock valued at $2,017,000 after purchasing an additional 26,810 shares during the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN lifted its stake in First Solar by 307.0% in 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 purchasing an additional 165,863 shares during the last quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. lifted its stake in First Solar by 12.7% in the 3rd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 292,393 shares of the solar cell manufacturer’s stock valued at $13,415,000 after purchasing an additional 33,052 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Allianz Asset Management GmbH lifted its stake in First Solar by 1.5% in the 3rd quarter. Allianz Asset Management GmbH now owns 70,126 shares of the solar cell manufacturer’s stock valued at $3,218,000 after purchasing an additional 1,018 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 53.23% 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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