Second-quarter earnings season is in full swing with a plethora of big-name financial services and technology companies stepping into the earnings confessional this week.
Looking ahead, a tidal wave of solar industry earnings is coming, particularly during the first week of August. Ahead of those reports, J.P, Morgan was out with research yesterday with some favorable comments on several marquee constituents from the Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSEArca: TAN) and the Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (NYSEArca: KWT).
On Tuesday, J.P. Morgan raised its price target on Canadian Solar (NasdaqGS: CSIQ) to $43.50 from $41, above the consensus target of $42.13 and well above the $29 and change the stock currently trades at, reports Lee Jackson for 24/7 Wall Street.
The bank boosted its target on First Solar (NasdaqGS: FSLR) to $76 from $75, well above the consensus of $65.87, according to 24/7 Wall Street. Arizona-based First Solar currently trades just over $63. First Solar and Canadian Solar combine for 11.6% of TAN’s weight and 11.5% of KWT. [Secret to Solar ETF’s Success]
J.P. also raised its price target on Elon Musk’s SolarCity (NasdaqGS: SCTY) to $77 from $72. The Wall Street estimate is $83.67, according to 24/7 Wall Street. All of those numbers are well above the $65.50 neighborhood in which the stock currently resides. The bank lifted its target on SuPower (NasdaqGS: SPWR) to $43 from $40. Up 42.4% in just the past 90 days, SunPower is flirting with $38.30 at this writing.
SunPower reports on July 31, but Aug. 4 is an epic day for solar earnings updates. On that day, Canadian Solar, First Solar, GT Advanced Technologies (NasdaqGS: GTAT) SolarCity and SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE) report. SunEdison, SolarCity, FirstSolar, SunPower and GT Advanced Technologies are five of TAN’s seven largest holdings, combining for over a third of the ETF’s weight.
SolarCity, First Solar, GT Advanced and SunPower combine for over 26% of KWT’s weight, according to Market Vectors data.
With these earnings reports looming, it must be remembered that upside surprises and positive forward guidance could be the catalysts to spark a round of short covering, a pivotal factor considering the large short positions in solar stocks.
Recent NASDAQ data indicate SunEdison’s short interest has jumped to 25.6% while SunPower’s has climbed to 26.3%, according to 24/7 Wall Street. Short interest in First Solar is up to 15.3% of the company’s float while SolarCity and GT Advanced Technologies are among the most shorted stocks in any sector. [Short Covering Could Lift Solar ETFs]
Guggenheim Solar ETF