Sector Snap: Solar stocks rally on JA Solar report

Solar stocks rise sharply on better-than-expected 1st-quarter results from JA Solar Holdings

Associated Press

Solar stocks rose Monday after Chinese panel maker JA Solar announced a rare rise in revenue and quarterly loss far smaller than expected.

A worldwide glut of solar panels sent panel prices plummeting in recent years and eviscerated the profits of solar panel makers around the world. The glut was caused by an increase in manufacturing capacity at a time when renewable energy subsidies had begun to shrink, especially in debt-strapped Europe, the world's biggest solar market.

Shares in solar companies suffered as a result, but in recent months investors have snapped up shares on any news that the panel glut could be easing, sales were beginning to rise, or the price drop was beginning to slow.

JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd., based in Shanghai, announced Monday that revenue in the first quarter rose compared with a year earlier for the first time since June of 2011, and that its loss narrowed. JA Solar posted a loss of RMB 204.3 million ($32.9 million), or RMB 1.06 (17 cents) per American depository share, on revenue of RMB 1.68 billion ($270 million). Two analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast, on average, a quarterly loss of $1.02 per share on revenue of $226.5 million.

Company shares jumped $2.62 to $8.23, a gain of 47 percent, in midday trading Monday. The stock has nearly doubled in the year to date.

The news helped lift the share prices of other solar panel makers.

— Yingli Green Energy Holdings Co., Ltd. rose 34 cents, or 12 percent, to $3.08 per share.

— Trina Solar Limited rose $1.16 or 21 percent, to $6.79 per share.

— Canadian Solar Inc. rose 94 cents, or 12 percent, to $8.78 per share.

— SunPower Corp. rose $1.75, or 8 percent, to $22.82 per share.

— First Solar Inc. rose $5.22, or 10 percent, to $55.20 per share. First Solar shares were also buoyed by news that the company would resume full construction at its Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project in Los Angeles County now that concerns over dust have been resolved.

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