The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Ford Motor, Toyota Motor, Honda Motor, First Solar and Suntech Power Holdings - Press Releases

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - November 18, 2011 - Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Ford Motor Co. ( F ), Toyota Motor Corp. ( TM ), Honda Motor Co . ( HMC ), First Solar Inc. ( FSLR ) and Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. ( STP ).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Flooding in Thailand Sinks Auto Output

Automobile production in Thailand plunged 68% to 49,439 units in October due to the severe floods in the country that damaged many plants of automakers and those of their vendors. The production reached the lowest level in more than 9 years.

Thailand is an important manufacturing base in Asia for most global automakers. They have already suffered due to parts shortages caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011.

Ford Motor Co. ( F ) was forced to halt production at its joint venture, AutoAlliance, in the Rayong province, which is not flood-affected, due to disruptions in parts supply. The automaker revealed that it has lost production of 30,000 vehicles.

On the other hand, Toyota Motor Corp. ( TM ) stated that it lost production of 150,000 vehicles, including 90,000 units in Thailand and 40,000 units in Japan. The automaker plans to resume production by November 21.

Toyota's rival, Honda Motor Co .'s ( HMC ) automobile factory in the country will remain closed due to the inundation. However, the company has resumed production of motorcycles and power products at its subsidiary plant in the country after their suspension in October.

The lost production in Thailand is expected go up to 250,000 vehicles globally. However, it is lower than 700,000 vehicles in lost production due to the twin disaster in Japan.

Both Toyota and Honda failed to provide any guidance for vehicle unit sales, net revenues and earnings for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012 as it needed more time to complete the assessment of production and sales plans due to the floods in Thailand.

First Solar Reaches Landmark

Solar panel producer First Solar Inc. ( FSLR ) surges ahead with its production of solar panels that aid customers and partners generate more clean energy from renewable source. The company, which began operations in 2002, touched the milestone of manufacturing 5 gigawatts ("GW") of solar panels.

A First Solar competitor in the same photovoltaic cell market, operational since 2001, Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. ( STP ) reached the 5 GW landmark recently in October 2011. However, to First Solar's credit, the company achieved the mark in lesser time.

First Solar's 5 GW of installed solar panels will lower the emission of 3.3 million tons of green house gas in the environment per year. Along with manufacturing of solar panels, the company is also working to enhance the conversion rate of these panels.

Through its astute research and development program, the company produced the 17.3% efficient cadmium telluride solar cell in July, resulting in average module conversion efficiency of 12.4%. Encouraged by the efficiency, First Solar will soon start producing the 87 watt modules, which will help produce more green electricity.

Surging demand for solar panels has made First Solar increase its production in its plant in Germany. In November 2011, the company increased its production from the Germany plant to 500 Megawatt ("MW") from the existing level of 250 MW.

Despite being the costliest variant of energy source, the global solar panel market continues to expand due to support from government agencies and cutting-edge technology that aims at increasing the conversion rate of the panels. We believe the global demand for solar panels is big enough to offer a piece of the pie to every player in the solar panel market.

Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, First Solar Inc. designs, manufactures, and sells solar electric power modules using a proprietary thin film semiconductor technology. We presently have a long-term Neutral recommendation on First Solar Inc.

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FORD MOTOR CO ( F ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
FIRST SOLAR INC ( FSLR ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
HONDA MOTOR ( HMC ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SUNTECH PWR HLD ( STP ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
TOYOTA MOTOR CP ( TM ): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
Zacks Investment Research



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: F , FSLR , HMC , STP , TM

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