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First Solar (FSLR) to Report Q4 Earnings: What's in Store?

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First Solar, Inc. (FSLR - Free Report) is scheduled to report fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 results on Feb 21, after market close. In the last reported quarter, the company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 20%.

Let's delve deep to unearth the factors likely to influence its fourth-quarter results.

Factors to Consider

On the third-quarter earnings call, First Solar announced the sale of its two projects in Japan during the fourth quarter of 2018. Also, in the fourth quarter, the company signed an agreement to sell its 100-Megawatt (MW) AC Willow Springs Solar Project in Kern County, CA to D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments.

These project sales must have boosted First Solar’s top line in the soon-to-be-reported quarter and can be expected to duly get reflected in the upcoming results. In line with this, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for First Solar’s fourth-quarter revenues is pegged at $803.5 million, reflecting 137% improvement year over year.

However, China and certain international markets have been witnessing a decline in average selling prices (ASPs) for solar modules due to oversupply across the value chain. This trend is expected to get reflected in the company’s fourth-quarter results.

Such higher sales expectations should get translated into improved bottom-line figures for First Solar in the quarter to be reported. Meanwhile, the company is witnessing production ramp up in its Ohio and Malaysia Series 6 factories, wherein throughput levels have reached 90% and 75% respectively.

This, in turn, might have boosted the company’s earnings in the soon-to-be-reported quarter.

Consequently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for First Solar’s fourth-quarter earnings is pegged at 64 cents, mirroring a massive improvement of 356% year over year.

First Solar, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

First Solar, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise | First Solar, Inc. Quote

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not show that First Solar is likely to beat on earnings this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both — a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) — for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Earnings ESP: First Solar has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Zacks Rank: First Solar carries a Zacks Rank #3, which when combined with a 0.00% ESP makes surprise prediction difficult.

Note that we caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell rated) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Upcoming Solar Releases

Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ - Free Report) sports a Zacks Rank #1 and is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results on Mar 21. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Sunrun Inc. (RUN - Free Report) carries a Zacks Rank #3 and is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results on Feb 28.

A Recent Solar Release

SunPower Corp. (SPWR - Free Report) incurred fourth-quarter 2018 adjusted loss of 21 cents per share, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 38 cents.

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