Will First Solar (FSLR) Surpass Estimates This Earnings? - Analyst Blog

First Solar, Inc.FSLR is expected to beat expectations when it reports first-quarter 2015 earnings results on Apr 30, 2015, after the market close.

Last quarter, First Solar had posted a whopping 145.45% positive earnings surprise. Let's see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

What's Driving the Better-than-Expected Earnings?

Tempe, AZ-based First Solar is steadily expanding its global footprint. The company primarily caters to the North American market but is keen to grab a larger market share. Like its peers, Canadian Solar Inc. CSIQ and SunPower Corp. SPWR , it also intends to expand its operations in the Middle East, India, Japan, Australia and South America to boost revenues and improve margins.

First Solar is evidently advancing in the field of research and development (R&D). In 2014, the company's R&D expenses had increased 7.2% from 2013. During the first quarter, First Solar announced that it had achieved a record cell conversion efficiency of 21.5%. The increased efficiency of solar modules and focus on technological innovations will result in a growing order book for the company.

In the quarter under preview, the company's total solar PV installation crossed a significant milestone of 10 gigawatts ("GW"). 2014 was a good year for First Solar in terms of PV bookings. The company continues to have strong orders in 2015 as well. First Solar received orders totaling 311 megawatt in first two months of 2015.

For the first-quarter 2015, First Solar expects net sales in the range of $550-$650 million and loss per fully diluted share in the band of 25-35 cents.

Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model shows that First Solar is likely to beat earnings because it has the right combination of two key ingredients.

Positive Zacks ESP:Earnings ESP , which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate, is at +3.45%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate of a loss of 28 cents per share is narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 29 cents. This is a meaningful and leading indicator of a likely positive earnings surprise for the shares.

Zacks Rank: First Solar currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).The combination of First Solar's Zacks Rank #3 and +3.45% ESP makes us positive of a bottom-line beat this season.

The Sell-rated stocks (#4 and 5) should never be considered going into an earnings announcement.

Another Stock to Consider

First Solar is not the only stock looking up this earnings season. We also see likely earnings beat coming from this industry peer.

Enphase Energy, Inc. ENPH has an earnings ESP of +6.67% and a Zacks Rank #3.

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FIRST SOLAR INC (FSLR): Free Stock Analysis Report

CANADIAN SOLAR (CSIQ): Free Stock Analysis Report

SUNPOWER CORP-A (SPWR): Free Stock Analysis Report

ENPHASE ENERGY (ENPH): Free Stock Analysis Report

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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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