First Solar predicts a better year ahead, and stock gains

First Solar Inc. shares rose about 5% in the extended session Tuesday after investors looked past a mixed quarter for the solar-power company to cheer guidance for the year.

First Solar

earned $349 million, or $3.25 a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $268 million, or $2.50 a share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose by $400 million to $1.2 billion, the company said. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of $3.19 a share on sales of $1.3 billion.

The company guided for 2024 net sales between $4.4 billion and $4.6 billion, and EPS between $13 and $14 for the year.

That compares with FactSet expectations of EPS around $13.26 a share on sales of $4.56 billion. In 2023, the company notched net sales of $3.3 billion, and EPS of $7.74.

First Solar’s earnings come as most solar-power companies continue to endure setbacks and headwinds.

Last week, SunRun Inc.

missed expectations for its fourth quarter, and SolarEdge Technologies Inc.

guided for current-quarter sales that were lower than what Wall Street was expecting.

Earlier Tuesday, SunPower Corp.

said that Chief Executive Peter Faricy left the company, effective Monday.

The ongoing downdraft for the solar industry stems from lower demand amid high interest rates and regulatory changes in California, as well as rising inventories.

The Invesco Solar ETF
is down 43% in the past 12 months, contrasting with gains of around 28% for the S&P 500 index

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