Embracing the sun: First Solar surges to new highApril 24, 2013: 12:48 PM ET
Solar stocks are back in vogue.
Shares of First Solar (FSLR) soared nearly 11% to a new 52-week high early Wednesday, and other solar stock were quick to follow. Shares of SunPower (SPWR), LDK Solar (LDK), SolarCity (SCTY) and Canadian Solar (CSIQ) were all shining pretty brightly.
Solar companies have struggled in recent years in the face of rising competition from cheaper solar panels manufactured in China.
The future looked so dim at the end of last year that JPMorgan Chase put First Solar on its list of stocks to avoid in 2013.
First Solar's fourth-quarter sales figures were disappointing, along with its first quarter outlook. But earlier this month, the company issued much stronger earnings and revenue guidance for the remainder of the year.
Solar stocks were also getting a boost Wednesday from a report suggesting demand from Europe was on the rise. While China is a big supplier to Europe, research firm IHS noted that antidumping legislation in Europe is cutting into those sales. And that's helping U.S. solar firms.
StockTwits traders like what they're seeing.
There are two stocks you don't expect to see in the same sentence. But I'd be remiss if I didn't address it. BlackBerry (BBRY) recently surprised investors with a profit...and strong sales of its new Z10 smartphone.
It's notable that the buying isn't confined to First Solar. The IHS report really created some nice upward momentum across the board.
"With clear signs that the balance between supply and demand is correcting, [solar panel] prices have stopped their decline and have begun to rise," said IHS senior analyst Glenn Bu.
While Chinese suppliers may have been cutting back because of the antidumping laws, growing demand in Europe will likely keep pushing prices higher across the board.