NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The best of China's solar-stock cadre and the most-embattled of the U.S. solar leaders took it on the chin in Monday's trading session.
The formula for trading shares of solar-energy companies has been fairly simple over the last two weeks, and it sets up Tuesday to be another day during which fundamentals in specific solar companies and the solar demand outlook for 2010 mean little when compared to the European continent. Even the best of the solar energy stocks have been hit hard. Take Trina Solar(TSL). The investor favorite had risen as high as $31 in January -- from a 52-week low of $8. But Trina's stock led losses in the solar sector on Monday, declining 9% to a share price just above $18. Trina shares have not been as low as their Monday closing price since last November. SunPower(SPWRA), which recovered from an accounting crisis in late 2009 -- only to see its fourth quarter and first quarter 2010 earnings send its shares ever lower -- reached another all-time low, just over $12, on Monday.
For the sake of long-term comparisons, SunPower shares debuted in their IPO at $27, and reached $133 in December 2007. It was only after SunPower's delayed fourth-quarter results that the company's stock slipped below $20 for the first time since its IPO in 2005.
On Monday, Barclays Capital put out a note saying Suntech Power's(STP) earnings could fall by as much as 80% year-over-year in 2010 based on the euro depreciating to $1.25. Suntech's earnings could crater by as much as 125% if the euro falls to $1.20, Barclays said.
Suntech shares hit a 52-week valley -- one of several recent such lows -- on Monday. Tuesday morning, it looked as if renewed optimism about Europe could help to rally shares in the recently pummeled solar sector. Several of the most depressed stocks were showing gains in Tuesday's pre-market session -- though pre-market trading in solar shares is often too thin to provide a solid indication of true trading sentiment.
The euro, meanwhile, moved off its lows of the previous session on Tuesday morning, hovering above the $1.24 mark in European trading.