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First Solar Inc. Fourth Quarter Earnings Sneak Peek

S&P 500 component First Solar, Inc. will unveil its latest earnings on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. First Solar designs and manufactures solar electric power modules using a proprietary thin film semiconductor technology.

First Solar, Inc. Earnings Preview Cheat Sheet

Wall St. Earnings Expectations: The average analyst estimate is for profit of $1.57 per share, a decline of 12.8% from the company’s actual earnings for the year-ago quarter. During the past three months, the average estimate has moved down from $2.52. Between one and three months ago, the average estimate moved down. It also has dropped from $1.58 during the last month. Analysts are projecting profit to rise by 23.6% versus last year to $5.87.

Past Earnings Performance: The company is looking to break the streak of missing estimates in the past two quarters. Last quarter, it fell short of analyst expectations by reporting net income of $2.25 per share against an estimate of profit of $2.67 per share. The quarter before that, it missed forecasts by 23 cents.

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Wall St. Revenue Expectations: Analysts predict a rise of 28.3% in revenue from the year-earlier quarter to $782.2 million.

Analyst Ratings: Analysts seem relatively indifferent about First Solar with 18 of 28 analysts surveyed maintaining a hold rating.

A Look Back: In the third quarter, profit rose 11.1% to $196.5 million ($2.25 a share) from $176.9 million ($2.04 a share) the year earlier, but fell short analyst expectations. Revenue rose 26.1% to $1.01 billion from $797.9 million.

Key Stats:

A year-over-year revenue increase in the third quarter interrupted a streak of three consecutive quarters of revenue declines. Revenue fell 9.4% in the second quarter, 0.1% in the first quarter and 4.9% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.

After a two-quarter streak of year-over-year profit decreases, the company reported a profit increase in the third quarter. The figure dropped 61.6% in the second quarter and 32.7% in the first quarter.

Stock Price Performance: Between November 28, 2011 and February 24, 2012, the stock price fell $8.98 (-20.2%), from $44.56 to $35.58. The stock price saw one of its best stretches over the last year between January 31, 2012 and February 7, 2012, when shares rose for six straight days, increasing 10.2% (+$4.31) over that span. It saw one of its worst periods between March 31, 2011 and April 12, 2011 when shares fell for nine straight days, dropping 10.7% (-$17.19) over that span.

(Company fundamentals by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

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To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com