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JinkoSolar slips after posting wider 4th-qtr loss

NEW YORK (AP) -- Chinese solar products maker JinkoSolar Holding Co. said Wednesday it took a bigger loss in the fourth quarter as prices remained weak.

The Shanghai company said it shipped 301.9 megawatts' worth of solar modules, silicon wafers, and solar cells during the December quarter. That's up 33 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012, but JinkoSolar's revenue fell 3 percent because of slumping prices. Sales were also down compared with the third quarter.

U.S. shares of JinkoSolar declined 38 cents, or 6.6 percent, to $5.42 in morning trading.

The company said it lost 761.1 million yuan ($120.5 million) in the fourth quarter after losing 366.6 million yuan a year ago. JinkoSolar said it lost $5.51 per U.S. share, and revenue fell to 1.17 billion ($185 million).

For the full year the company's shipments climbed 25 percent to 1,188 megawatts. However prices of solar products have tumbled in recent years as the Chinese government pushed hundreds of small players into the industry. That trend continued even after Western countries cut subsidies to solar power companies in the wake of the global economic crisis. With supplies increasing and sales growth stalled, sellers were forced to slash prices to unprofitable levels.

JinkoSolar said Wednesday that those trends and broader economic uncertainty are still hurting its business. The company posted a loss of 1.54 billion yuan ($244 million) in 2012 after turning a profit in 2011. It lost $11.16 per U.S. share. Revenue fell 38 percent in 2012, to 4.79 billion yuan ($758.4 million).

Solar company stocks rose Tuesday after First Solar Inc. issued a strong outlook for 2013, followed by solid forecasts for 2014 and 2015. The estimates encouraged investors looking for a reason to think the industry might soon turn a corner. Shares of JinkoSolar rose 16 percent Tuesday.