NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of solar companies rose Tuesday on investor optimism that the struggling industry might soon turn a corner.
First Solar Inc. posted some of the sector's biggest gains after it issued a better-than-expected outlook for this year at its annual analyst meeting.
The Tempe, Ariz.-based company expects a 2013 profit of $4 to $4.50 per share on $3.8 billion to $4 billion in revenue. That's well ahead of average Wall Street predictions for earnings of $3.60 per share on $3.17 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.
The company also set 2014 profit and revenue targets that bracketed analysts' estimates and issued a better-than-expected outlook for 2015.
Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg, a news service owned by Hong Kong Economic Times reported earlier this week that billionaire Warren Buffett may be interested in buying Suntech Power Holdings Co. The Chinese company was forced into bankruptcy protection last month after it failed to make a $541 million payment to bondholders.
Prices of solar products have tumbled in recent years as the Chinese government pushed hundreds of small players into the industry. New companies continued to spring up in 2011 even after Western countries, hammered by the global economic crisis, cut subsidies. Supplies surged as sales growth stalled, forcing sellers to slash prices to unprofitable levels.
On Saturday Trina Solar Ltd. Chairman Gao Ji told Reuters that while the solar industry may face another roller-coaster year, his company expects to get a boost from rising demand in China demand and turn around its business in the second half of the year.
Trina has posted six consecutive quarterly losses and industry analysts don't expect that streak to change any time soon.
Here's how some solar stocks were trading Tuesday afternoon:
— Suntech, up 16 cents, or 34 percent, to 64 cents.
— First Solar, up $11.72, or 43.3 percent, at $38.76.
— JinkoSolar Holding Co., up 94 cents, or 18.8 percent, to $5.94.
— LDK Solar Co., up 24 cents, or 22.4 percent, to $1.31.
— Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., up 35 cents, or 18.9 percent, to $2.20.
— JA Solar Holdings Co., up 63 cents, or 17.1 percent, to $4.32.
— ReneSola Ltd., up 20 cents, or 14.2 percent, to $1.61.
— Trina Solar, up 46 cents, or 12 percent, to $4.30.