Today’s Analyst Upgrades/Downgrades & Notes On Alternative Energy Stocks: FSLR, WFR, ESLR, ASTI, TSL, AVAV

It’s getting late but wanted to run down the upgrades/downgrades of today as well as a few notes..

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Sanjay Shrestha said this week that although macroeconomic factors continue to depress alternative energy stocks, the future looks bright.  “We believe Barack Obama’s election is a long-term positive for the alternative energy group,” Shrestha said. “Until the financial markets show signs of stability, the economy will likely continue to overshadow other policy agenda items. However, we believe energy and the focus on alternative sources is a top agenda item that Obama will address in his first months in office.”

First Solar (FSLR)

– JP Morgan begins coverage at Overweight
– Hapoalim Securities maintains Sell rating and cut price target to $80.  The firm sees weakening average selling prices and order delays or cancellations plaguing the thin-film industry, including First Solar, over the next 3-6 months. This prediction was made after analysts at Hapoalim attended the European Photovoltaic Industry Association’s thin-film conference.

MEMC Electronics (WFR)

– Soleil Securities maintains Buy rating but lowers price target from $60 to $52.  “While we are maintaining our Buy rating given the attractive valuation level on our current estimates, investors must realize that the visibility on the company’s downstream customers (solar and semiconductors) is close to non-existent.”
– Caris & Co downgrades from Above Average to Average
– Hapoalim Securities downgrades from Hold to Sell and cuts price target from $17 to $9.  Given that MEMC “is a commodity cyclical company which has seen its margins peak, ahead of significant competition and declining prices (due to emerging poly-Si supply from new players)” Hapoalim feels “fundamentals will continue to weaken before the company resumes a beat and raise story.”

Shares of WFR were up today about 2%.  Perhaps much of the bad news is already built in at this point.

Other Downgrades

– Deutsche Bank downgrades Trina Solar (TSL) from Buy to Hold and cut price target from $65 to $10.  Way to get ahead of the curve guys. 
– JP Morgan downgrades Ascent Solar (ASTI) from Neutral to Underweight
– JP Morgan downgrades Evergreen Solar (ESLR) from Neutral to Underweight

A Green Stock Upgrade!

Could it be?  An upgrade … in the alternative energy sector?  It is!

Stanford Group is upgrading AeroVironment (AVAV) from Hold to Buy.  Be sure to check out the profile I did on this company.

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