Are Solar Stocks Poised for a Rebound?

Short sellers who put their money on falling solar stock (NYSE:TAN) prices this year have seen great returns, with many stocks seeing declines by more than half. Expect these market participants to stick around as the beat up sector isn’t likely to see any improvements soon.

This year, solar panel prices have dropped 35 percent and panel makers such as First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) and Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE:STP) have seen their stock prices plummet more than 70 percent from highs earlier this year.

Grim third quarter earnings reports for solar stocks and the industry’s dependency on government subsidies also keep short sellers interested. And why not, it’s been a tough year for the industry worldwide.

To make matters worse, top solar markets in Italy and Germany have cut subsidies while seeing an increased product capacity for solar panels. The led to an oversupply and declining prices.

The MAC Global Solar Energy index has dropped 63 percent from its 2011 February high.

Some positives

Long investors have an more optimistic view of the sector, believing it’s poised for strong growth as clean power source prices compete with fossil fuels (NYSEARCA:USO).

Polysilicon makers have been the last product to get hit by a price drop; however, it has seen prices recently fall by more than 30 percent to about $35 a kilogram from around $50/kg seen this summer.

One portfolio manager recently said, “We don’t think this industry will bottom until the polysilicon vendors start to break even or lose money, and they are a long long way away from that.”

Here’s how top solar stocks closed the week:

  • First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR): The shares recently traded at $49.59, up $1.41, or 2.93%. Its market capitalization is $4.28 billion. They have traded in a 52-week range of $42.50 to $175.45. Volume today was 4,984,428 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 3,739,470 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 8.14, while trailing earnings are $6.09 per share. About the company: First Solar, Inc. designs and manufactures solar modules. The Company uses a thin film semiconductor technology to manufacture electricity-producing solar modules. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  • Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE:STP): The shares recently traded at $2.74, up $0.21, or 8.3%. Its market capitalization is $494.28 million. They have traded in a 52-week range of $1.70 to $10.83. Volume today was 7,047,108 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 4,725,040 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 3.07, while trailing earnings are $0.89 per share. About the company: Suntech Power Holdings Company Ltd produces solar cells. The Company designs, develops, manufactures and markets a variety of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules. Suntech Power is based in China. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  • LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (NYSE:LDK): The shares recently traded at $3.77, up $0.13, or 3.57%. Its market capitalization is $533.32 million. They have traded in a 52-week range of $2.55 to $15.10. Volume today was 1,298,691 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 3,397,310 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 1.81, while trailing earnings are $2.09 per share. About the company: LDK Solar Company, Ltd. manufactures multicrystalline solar wafers. The Company sells multicrystalline wafers globally to manufacturers of photovoltaic products including solar cells and solar modules. Solar wafers are the principal raw material used to produce solar cells which convert sunlight into electricity. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  • MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE:WFR): The shares recently traded at $5.19, up $0.09, or 1.76%. Its market capitalization is $1.20 billion. They have traded in a 52-week range of $4.58 to $15.04. Volume today was 11,662,927 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 8,223,290 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 16.91, while trailing earnings are $0.31 per share. About the company: MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. produces silicon wafers. The Company’s products are used in computers, telecommunications equipment, automobiles, consumer electronics products, industrial automation and control systems, and analytical and defense systems. MEMC operates manufacturing facilities in Italy, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>
  • Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE:YGE): The shares recently traded at $3.69,. Its market capitalization is $581.69 million. They have traded in a 52-week range of $2.75 to $13.59. Volume today was 4,927,856 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 4,964,360 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 2.17, while trailing earnings are $1.70 per share. About the company: Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited designs, manufactures and sells PV modules. The Company also designs, assembles, sells and installs PV systems that are connected to an electricity transmission grid or those that operate on a stand-alone basis. Get the most recent company news and stock data here >>

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