Baird Bullish on First Solar, Inc. (FSLR), But Pulls Back on Price Target Ahead of Anticipated 2017 Guidance Cut

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) is preparing to deliver a 2017 guidance call on November 16th. Though Baird analyst Ben Kallo remains bullish that “FSLR is best situated to exit the oversupply environment in a strong position,” he is pulling back on both price target and estimates in light of a decline in overall module output coupled with a dip in system sales. As such, the analyst reiterates an Outperform rating on shares of FSLR while reducing the price target from $48 to $45, which represents a 38% increase from current levels.

Kallo asserts, “We believe FSLR remains well positioned given its global footprint and international pipeline, relationships with utilities, cost leadership, and continued advances in technology.” Moreover, thanks to the solar panel maker’s robust net cash balance circling to hit in the range of $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion by the close of 2016, the analyst predicts this will enable FSLR to “quickly expand in key markets and ramp capacity once market equilibrium returns.”

“We believe FSLR’s upcoming guidance call will cause the stock to trade down, but we recommend buying on weakness after the call. We think FSLR may limit production to match orders for systems and projects (similar to SPWR), which could impact near-term revenue growth. FSLR, however, is best situated to exit oversupply in a strong position, and 2017 should benefit from the recent shift in projects. The industry continues to face headwinds from oversupply, but we think this call will be the bottom for FSLR shares,” Kallo contends.

For the year of 2017, the analyst projects $2,399.4 million in revenue and $1.26 in adjusted EPS. For 2018, Kallo forecasts $2,804.4 in revenue and $2.82 in adjusted EPS, noting “there could be potential upside to estimates if the solar market reverts to equilibrium.”

As usual, we recommend taking analyst notes with a grain of salt. According to TipRanks, one-star analyst Ben Kallo is ranked #3,251 out of 4,209 analysts. Kallo has a 37% success rate and faces a loss of 1.3% in his annual returns. When recommending FSLR, Kallo loses 21.6% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics exhibit FSLR as a Hold. Based on 13 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 1 rates a Buy on FSLR, 11 maintain a Hold, while 1 issues a Sell. The 12-month price target stands at $45.11, marking a nearly 41% upside from where the shares last closed.  screen-shot-11-14-16-at-02-02-pm

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