Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is Nancy Pelosi to Blame for First Solar's Stock Price?

Last week Dave Burris trumpeted the headline, Stock Market Gives Obama’s First Month an F.
Yesterday it was Charlie Copeland’s turn. He noted that the share price for a company called First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) fell yesterday despite a strong earnings announcement, and suggested that Nancy Pelosi was at fault for the decline:
The fly in the ointment was that First Solar also stated that “the short-term outlook for solar PV has never looked more difficult.” First Solar’s stock price is down 20% today.
How can this be? Maybe Speaker Pelosi should have spoken with actual green industry leaders before writing her pork-laden “stimulus” bill. Maybe increased government debt and central planning aren’t the savior that we thought.
Now in finance, I learned that when a stock drops sharply after a company’s earnings are announced, it probably has something to do with the company offering disappointing news—particularly on a generally positive day for the market. First Solar fell 21.8 percent on a day when the NASDAQ fell only 3.3 points, just 0.23 percent. I was taught that when one stock’s price moves in a different direction from the overall market, it is strongly presumed that the movement is due to company news rather than general economic conditions.
Not that companies aren’t averse to casting blame on the economy itself, which is perfectly reasonable in the current climate. The company had a strong quarter, but lowered its earnings guidance for the coming year. Reuters reports that the company blamed economic conditions it disappointing outlook:
U.S. thin-film company First Solar Inc (FSLR.O) painted a bleak picture of the industry due to frozen credit markets that are hampering new projects, a weak dollar that is squeezing profits and a risk of mounting inventories.
In response to the lack of credit for customers, First Solar is deferring as much as ten percent of revenue to finance some customer projects itself. The weak dollar is an important factor given the company’s large customer base in Europe. The risk of mounting inventories is attributed to the increased risk of default; the company projects that as many as 15 percent of its customers could default on their purchases this year.
Is Charlie Copeland right to lay the blame for these conditions at the feet of the Speaker of the House? Obviously, these business conditions didn’t arise in the last five weeks, and won’t be ameliorated quickly even if the recovery plan is a roaring success. The most optimistic economists believe that it will take at least a year for the economy to turn around.
Charlie Copeland is philosophically opposed to the stimulus bill, and can be expected to marshal whatever evidence he can to argue his case. But to suggest that Nancy Pelosi was somehow responsible for the fall in one company’s stock on one particular day is silly.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Tommy. It is always good to cut through the propaganda to get to some real information.

9:26 AM, February 26, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe increased government debt and central planning aren’t the savior that we thought.

Hmmm...? Will the public fear Copeland's boogeymen "central planning" more than they will fear Republicans getting back in office?

I'm thinking "central planning" would crush Republicanism in opinion polls.


9:28 AM, February 26, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ironically it is the Republicans who are responsible for all the stocks declines.. It would be wise to point that out to them every now and then.... Their memories are short...


12:26 AM, February 27, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I never said anything of the kind and actually included the information regarding the short term difficulty in the Solar PV marketplace. Copied directly from my post: "The fly in the ointment was that First Solar also stated that “the short-term outlook for solar PV has never looked more difficult.”

My point, which escaped you, was that government's "stimulus" will have no impact on this market. Which is why President Obama wants to apply a carbon tax through cap'&'trade.

3:21 PM, February 27, 2009  
Blogger Tom Noyes said...

I have several quick reactions, Charlie.

First, I quoted that snippet and more from your post, so I'm not sure how I got your meaning wrong.

Second, there is a difference between a carbon tax and a cap and trade regime, which is what Obama proposed.

Third, as for your prediction that the stimulus bill will have no impact on this market: I would think that at the very least that remains to be seen, and certainly cannot be determined by citing the movement of one stock on one day.

5:04 PM, February 27, 2009  

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