First Solar (FSLR) to Report Q1 Earnings: A Beat in Store?

First Solar, Inc . FSLR is scheduled to report first-quarter 2018 results after the market closes on Apr 26. Last quarter, the company delivered a positive earnings surprise of 21.88%.

Let's see how things are shaping up prior to this announcement.

Factors at Play

As a result of strong Series 4 bookings in the fourth quarter of 2017, First Solar decided to restart two lines of Series 4 production in Ohio, which were shut down in late 2017. The company has thus started hiring associates and expects these additional lines to offer 180 megawatts of additional volume in 2018. We expect the upcoming quarterly result to reflect the benefit of this move.

On the bottom-line front, management expects to incur a loss in the first quarter, depending on the timing of U.S. and India-based project sales between first and second quarter of 2018. In line with this, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for loss is pegged at 5 cents, for the first quarter.

During the quarter under review, it was announced that Capital Dynamics - a Swiss-based asset management firm - has agreed to acquire 8point3 Energy CAFD , a joint venture that First Solar shares with SunPower Corp, for $1.7 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, First Solar will receive $12.35 per share in cash, on completion of the deal. We may expect further developments of this deal, once the company releases results.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model conclusively shows that First Solar is likely to beat 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. This is not the case here, as you will see below.

Zacks ESP : First Solar has an Earnings ESP of +106.67%. 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 along with a positive Earnings ESP hints at a positive earnings surprise.

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

First Solar, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

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

Other Stocks That Warrant a Look

Here are a few other players in the utility sector that also have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter.

Enphase Energy ENPH will report first-quarter results on May 1. The company has an Earnings ESP of +16.67% and a Zacks Rank #3. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

SunPower Corporation SPWR has an Earnings ESP of +20.13% and a Zacks Rank #3. The company is expected to report first-quarter results on Apr 26.

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

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

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