Sector Snap: Solar Energy

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of solar cell and module providers rose Wednesday, after JA Solar and Yingli Energy both reported another quarter of losses, but said they think Chinese demand for their products is picking up.

Solar companies have struggled this year amid tough economic conditions that have sent demand for their products down. At the same time, heavy competition has forced them to cut prices.

In addition shares of Chinese solar companies have been rocked by the prospect of heavy tariffs. Earlier this month, the U.S. International Trade Commission found that Chinese companies have materially injured U.S. manufacturers, upholding tariffs that can run up to nearly 250 percent.

And the European Union recently began an investigation into alleged "dumping" of low-cost Chinese solar panels in Europe that could mean duties in about nine months.

On Wednesday JA Solar Holdings Co. said its third-quarter loss narrowed to $59.1 million, or 30 cents per American depositary share. Revenue fell 9 percent to $260.9 million. Analysts polled by FactSet expected a loss of 20 cents per share on $248.2 in revenue.

While shipments were flat with the second quarter and down about 6 percent from the year-ago quarter, the Chinese company said that shipments within its own country more than doubled sequentially, helped by strong orders from utility companies.

JA added that it continues to perform well in Japan and is also making inroads into growing solar markets in Australia, Southeast Asia and South America.

Also on Wednesday Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. posted a loss of $152.6 million, or 98 cents per ADS. Excluding one-time items, the loss amounted to 40 cents per ADS. Revenue dropped 47 percent to $355.9 million, as shipments and prices fell.

Analysts expected a loss of 62 cents per share on $363.1 million in revenue.

Like JA, Yingli said it got a boost from an increase in Chinese sales. Revenue there rose 14 percent from second-quarter levels and 28 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Yingli also said it has high hopes for Chinese sales in the fourth quarter and expects to expand into Southeast Asian markets.

Yingli and JA had some of the biggest gains in the sector Wednesday afternoon. Yingli shares jumped 15 cents, or 10.5 percent, to $1.58, while JA shares rose 3 cents, or 4.8 percent, to 68 cents.

Elsewhere, shares of Trina Solar Ltd. rose 34 cents, or 14.6 percent, to $2.67; LDK Solar Co. added 8 cents, or 8.3 percent, to $1.05; MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. rose 15 cents, or 5.4 percent, to $2.95; and Suntech Power Holdings Co. rose 3 cents, or 3.2 percent, to 89 cents.

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