Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool’s free investing community, drug behemoth Merck (NYSE: MRK ) has earned a respected four-star ranking.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at Merck and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.
Whitehouse Station, N.J. (1891)
Top 10 Solar Companies To Watch For 2014: Peabody Energy Corporation(BTU)
Peabody Energy Corporation engages in the mining of coal. It mines, prepares, and sells thermal coal to electric utilities and metallurgical coal to industrial customers. The company owns interests in 30 coal mining operations located in the United States and Australia, as well as owns joint venture interest in a Venezuela mine. It is also involved in marketing, brokering, and trading coal. In addition, the company develops a mine-mouth coal-fueled generating plant; and Btu Conversion projects that are designed to convert coal to natural gas or transportation fuels; and clean coal technologies. As of December 31, 2011, it had 9 billion tons of proven and probable coal reserves. The company was founded in 1883 and is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.
- [By Sue Chang and Saumya Vaishampayan]
Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU) shares added 2.9%. The stock’s rating was raised to outperform from market perform at Cowen & Co. Analyst Daniel Scott noted that Peabody maintains one of the stronger financial positions among metallurgical coal producers.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Other impacted stocks include Consol Energy (CNX), Peabody Energy (BTU) and Arch Coal (ACI).
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UBS analyst Kuni Chen explains the reason for the mass downgrades:
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Shares of Walter Energy have dropped 17% to $7.54 at 1:$1 p.m. today, Peabody Energy (BTU) has fallen 1.4% to $15.52, Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) has declined 3.2% to $4.31 and Arch Coal (ACI) is off 1.2% at $43.0.
- [By Victor Selva]
Finally, I always like to see one of the most important financial ratios applying to stockholders, the best measure of performance for a firm’s management: the return on equity. With a ROE of 13.2%, it is well above the industry mean of 3.7% and competitors such as Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (ANR), Arch Coal Inc. (ACI) and Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU).
Top 10 Solar Companies To Watch For 2014: First Solar Inc.(FSLR)
First Solar, Inc. manufactures and sells solar modules using a thin-film semiconductor technology. It also designs, constructs, and sells photovoltaic solar power systems. The company?s solar modules employ a thin layer of semiconductor material to convert sunlight into electricity. Its integrated solar power systems activities include the project development; engineering, procurement, and construction services; operating and maintenance services; and project finance. The company sells solar modules to project developers, system integrators, and operators of renewable energy projects; and solar power systems to investor owned utilities, independent power developers and producers, and commercial and industrial companies, as well as other system owners. It operates in the United States, Germany, France, Canada, and internationally. The company was formerly known as First Solar Holdings, Inc. and changed its name to First Solar, Inc. in 2006. First Solar was founded in 1999 a nd is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona.
- [By Jayson Derrick]
Analysts at Citigroup maintained a Buy rating on First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) with a price target raised to $87 from a previous $63. Shares gained 1.84 percent, closing at $69.72.
- [By Charley Blaine]
The market overall gained support from energy and utility stocks. About 288 S&P 500 stocks were higher, led by First Solar (NYSE: FSLR) and steel-maker Allegheny Technologies Inc. (NYSE: ATI), up 22% and 18.6%, respectively.
- [By Jon C. Ogg]
The case for alternative energy and renewable energy is growing handily here each day. This might not drive those small-cap stocks 10,000% higher, but it builds a base for the ones with a proven model. The argument for renewables and alternative energy might not just be for the sake of carbon emissions either. If oil prices remain high or rise, alternative energy projects will simply be driven more and more by economics. First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) just announced new record-breaking efficiency, which drives down the cost.
Top 10 Solar Companies To Watch For 2014: Real Goods Solar Inc.(RSOL)
Real Goods Solar, Inc. operates as a residential and commercial solar energy integrator primarily in California and Colorado. The company provides engineering, procurement, and construction services. It offers various turnkey solar energy services, including design, procurement, permitting, build-out, grid connection, financing referrals, and warranty and customer satisfaction services. The company installs residential and small commercial systems that range between 3 kilowatts and 1 megawatt output. It also engages in the retail sale of renewable energy products. The company was founded in 1978 and is based in Louisville, Colorado.
- [By John Udovich]
Small cap solar stock Andalay Solar Inc (OTCMKTS: WEST) has largely cratered for investors verses solar stock peers Real Goods Solar, Inc (NASDAQ: RSOL) and SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ: SCTY), but is the company finally turning itself around after a failed deal to be acquired?
- [By Bryan Murphy]
Last Thursday when I suggested American Community (OTCMKTS:ACYD) was a stock that should be shed immediately, and replaced with a position in Real Goods Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:RSOL), I didn’t win a lot of friends. After all, ACYD was the market’s newest darling, in the middle of a red-hot runup, while RSOL was “just another solar name” that happened to be lucky enough to stumble its way above a key support line. Well, I hate to be the one to day I told you so, but, I told you so. American Community shares are down 35% since then, while Real Goods Solar shares are up 36% in the meantime. Both stocks seem pretty well entrenched in their current trends too.
Top 10 Solar Companies To Watch For 2014: Hanwha SolarOne Co. Ltd.(HSOL)
Hanwha Solarone Co., Ltd., an investment holding company, engages in the manufacture and sale of silicon ingots, silicon wafers, and PV cells and modules. The company also offers mono crystalline and multi crystalline silicon cells; and provides PV module processing services. It sells its products to solar power system integrators and distributors primarily in Germany, Italy, Australia, the United States, the Czech Republic, Spain, and China. The company was formerly known as Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd. and changed its name to Hanwha SolarOne Co., Ltd. in December 2010. Hanwha Solarone Co., Ltd. was founded in 2004 and is based in Qidong, the People?s Republic of China.
- [By Paul Ausick]
Big Earnings Movers: Hanwha SolarOne Co. (NASDAQ: HSOL) is down 13.9% at $4.36. D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI) is up 4.7% at $18.91 on good earnings boosted by land sales.
- [By Travis Hoium]
News and notes
Hanwha SolarOne (NASDAQ: HSOL ) announced another $100 million in financing this week, this time a term loan from the Export-Import Bank of Korea.
Top 10 Solar Companies To Watch For 2014: Renesola Ltd.(SOL)
ReneSola Ltd, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of solar wafers and solar power products. It offers virgin polysilicons, monocrystalline and multicrystalline solar wafers, and photovoltaic cells and modules. The company also provides cell and module processing services. Its products are used in a range of residential, commercial, industrial, and other solar power generation systems. The company sells its solar wafers primarily to solar cell and module manufacturers. It principally operates in Mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, India, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, France, the Czech Republic, and the United States. The company was founded in 2003 and is based in Jiashan, the People?s Republic of China.
- [By John Kell var popups = dojo.query(“.socialByline .popC”); popups.forEach(func]
ReneSola Ltd.(SOL) said it is being probed as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s antidumping investigation of solar products imports. The Chinese solar-products company said it has temporarily stopped shipping products to the U.S. that fall within the scope of the probe and it intends to fully cooperate with the investigation proceedings. Shares dropped 3.6% to $3.78 premarket.
- [By James Brumley]
Which solar power stocks are the proverbial picks of the litter, though? Here are the first five a newcomer might want to consider.
ReneSola Ltd. (SOL)
While most solar stocks have done incredibly well so far in 2014, ReneSola (SOL) wasn’t one of them. In fact, SOL stock is a bit unusual in that it’s trading well under its October high of $6 per share. That’s not a bad thing, though. In fact, it may work to your advantage because it gives new buyers a chance to scoop up ReneSola shares at a bargain price before their next big run-up.
- [By Monica Gerson]
Vitran Corporation (NASDAQ: VTNC) announced today that it has entered into a definitive arrangement agreement with TransForce pursuant to which TransForce has agreed to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Vitran not already owned by TransForce for US$6.50 in cash per share, in accordance with TransForce’s prior proposal. To read the full news, click here. ReneSola (NYSE: SOL) today announced it signed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) to sell three utility-scale projects in Western China, with a total capacity of 60MW, to Jiangsu Akcome Solar Science & Technology Co on December 30, 2013. To read the full news, click here. Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (NYSE: CTB) today announced it has terminated the merger agreement with Apollo Tyres (NSE:ApolloTYRE). To read the full news, click here. RedHill Biopharma (NASDAQ: RDHL) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with leading healthcare investor OrbiMed Israel Partners Limited Partnership, an affiliate of OrbiMed Advisors LLC, for the sale of RedHill’s American Depository Shares and warrants in a private placement transactionor a total sum of $6.0 million. To read the full news, click here.
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- [By Aaron Levitt]
After years of cheap natural gas eating photovoltaic’s lunch, solar stocks are back with a vengeance. Already, we’ve seen better earnings from a host of hot solar stocks like First Solar (FSLR) and Canadian Solar (CSIQ). And now, its smaller solar stock ReneSola’s turn (SOL) … and SOL stock may just surprise investors.
Top 10 Solar Companies To Watch For 2014: JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd.(JASO)
JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd., through its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, manufacture, and sale of photovoltaic solar cells and solar products, which convert sunlight into electricity in the People’s Republic of China. The company?s principal products include monocrystalline and multicrystalline solar cells, as well as various solar modules. It also provides silicon wafer and solar cell processing services. The company sells its products primarily under the JA Solar brand name, as well as produces equipment for original equipment manufacturing customers under their brand names. It sells its solar cell and module products primarily to module manufacturers, system integrators, project developers, and distributors in the Germany, Italy, the United States, Hong Kong, Spain, India, the Czech Republic, France, and South Korea. The company has strategic partnerships with various solar power companies, such as BP Solar, Solar-Fabrik, and MEMC/SunEdison. JA Solar H oldings Co., Ltd. was founded in 2005 and is based in Shanghai, the People?s Republic of China.
- [By Paul Ausick]
JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO) reported its first positive quarterly earnings in more than two years Monday morning to become the latest solar energy company to draw a line under the recovery of the solar photovoltaic (PV) makers. Some have done better than others, but compared with what was happening in the sector two or three years ago, 2014 has so far been a miracle year for solar makers.
- [By John Kell and Tess Stynes var popups = dojo.query(“.socialByline .popC”); p]
Among the companies with shares expected to actively trade in Monday’s session are Keurig Green Mountain Inc.(GMCR), JA Solar Holdings Co.(JASO) and Five Prime Therapeutics Inc.(FPRX)
Top 10 Solar Companies To Watch For 2014: JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited(JKS)
JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of solar power products in China and internationally. The company provides solar modules, silicon wafers and ingots, and solar cells, as well as processing services, including silicon wafer tolling services. It sells its products under the JinkoSolar brand name. The company?s customers include distributors, project developers, and system integrators. It trades its products under short-term contracts and by spot market sales. The company also produces accessory materials for solar power products, such as solar aluminum frame, solar junction box, aluminum materials windows, and other metal component parts. JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. was founded in 2006 and is based in Shangrao, the People?s Republic of China.
- [By Dan Caplinger]
On the other hand, if you were looking to buy stocks, Monday turned out to be a great time to do so. For instance, in the solar arena, JinkoSolar (NYSE: JKS ) and Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL ) plunged Monday on feras of the impact of geopolitical tension on the solar business, even though Jinko had reported reasonably strong results earlier that day. Yet Monday, Trina and Jinko soared, with Trina’s positive report confirming the health of the solar industry.
- [By Lauren Pollock]
JinkoSolar Holding Co.(JKS) unveiled plans to separate its downstream solar PV project business, saying it may consider a spinoff or sale of the unit. Shares edged up 2.8% to $36.40 premarket.
- [By Zacks]
On Dec 17, Zacks Investment Research upgraded JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. (NYSE: JKS) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Why the Upgrade?
Top 10 Solar Companies To Watch For 2014: LDK Solar Co. Ltd.(LDK)
LDK Solar Co., Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, manufacture, and marketing of photovoltaic (PV) products; and development of power plant projects. It offers solar-grade and semiconductor-grade polysilicon; and multicrystalline and monocrystalline solar wafers to the manufacturers of solar cells and solar modules. The company also provides wafer processing services to monocrystalline and multicrystalline solar cell and module manufacturers; and sells silicon materials, such as ingots and polysilicon scraps. In addition, it engages in the production and sale of solar cells and modules to developers, distributors, and system integrators; and design and development of solar power projects in Europe, the United States, and China, as well as provides engineering, procurement, and construction services. LDK Solar Co., Ltd. operates in Europe, the Asia Pacific, and North America. The company was founded in 2005 and is based in Xinyu City, t he People?s Republic of China.
- [By Jonathan Yates]
For investors looking to profit from shorting stocks in the sector, JA Solar Holdings (NASDAQ: JASO) and LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK) are both vulnerable. For those looking to go long, Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) is very strong in natural gas, which is expected to increase its market share, according to a recent report from the Department of Energy.
- [By Paul Ausick]
Big Earnings Movers: Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) is up 8.7% at $88.05 following positive results and a raised outlook. Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) is down 6% at $15.45 as the bookseller watches its revenue slide. JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO) is down 10.3% at $XX on a mixed earnings report and LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (NYSE: LDK) is flat at $1.60.
- [By Aaron Levitt]
For many solar stocks — like LDK Solar (LDK) — Europe has been the traditional hot-spot for module sales. However, as austerity has gripped the region, PV subsidies have fallen by the wayside. That’s caused many solar stocks to hurt pretty hard since the financial crisis. For CSIQ, the focus has moved from Europe to new demand drivers in Japan and China.
- [By Rick Munarriz]
Solar-energy stocks are rising again, and LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK ) will give alternative-energy investors a fresh snapshot on the state of solar on Thursday. Yes, the market’s braced for a significant quarterly deficit, but we’re talking about a lot less red ink than LDK Solar was sporting a year earlier.
Top 10 Solar Companies To Watch For 2014: Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited(YGE)
Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the design, development, manufacture, marketing, sale, and installation of photovoltaic (PV) products in the People?s Republic of China and internationally. The company offers PV cells, PV modules, and integrated PV systems, as well as polysilicon ingots, blocks, and wafers. It sells its PV modules to distributors, wholesalers, power plant developers and operators, and PV system integrators in Germany, the United States, Italy, China, Spain, the Netherlands, Greece, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Japan under the Yingli and Yingli Solar brand names. The company also offers its integrated PV systems directly to end-users or to contractors for use in the electricity projects, as well as to mobile communications companies in the People’s Republic of China. Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Baoding, the People? s Republic of China.
- [By Travis Hoium]
The other earnings report was from Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE ) , which reported sales of $613.0 million but lost $128.2 million in the quarter. Yingli is seeing strong demand for panels, but it’s not generating the margins needed to overcome $2.4 billion in debt. If Yingli can’t improve its balance sheet enough to be able to invest in the next generation of equipment it risks failure, so look to see if margins improve enough to make a profit as we move through 2014.
- [By Aaron Levitt]
Like FSLR, CSIQ and JinkoSolar (JKS), ReneSola has moved beyond its original focus of creating just wafers. That means SOL stock investors are now betting on one of the more integrated solar stocks … and one that has grown to become a strong module shipper over the last few years. That includes outsourcing modules to nations like India, South Africa and Poland. SOL has done well in this regard and has been catching up to sizzling solar stocks like Yingli Green Energy (YGE).
- [By Aaron Levitt]
That newfound focus on utility-sized projects has given CSIQ an edge over other solar stocks in the earnings department. For example, PV module only manufacturer Yingli Green Energy (YGE) fell hard when its earnings reported disappointed investors, as sales didn’t come meet expectations.
Top 10 Solar Companies To Watch For 2014: Ascent Solar Technologies Inc.(ASTI)
Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc., a development stage company, focuses on commercializing flexible photovoltaic (PV) modules using its proprietary technology. The company intends to manufacture roll-format PV modules that use copper-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) on a plastic substrate. Its proprietary manufacturing process deposits multiple layers of materials, including a thin-film of CIGS semiconductor material on a plastic substrate and laser patterns the layers to create interconnected PV cells or PV modules through monolithic integration process. The company would serve the building applied photovoltaic (BAPV) and building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) market, as well as specialty markets, such as defense, portable power, transportation, electronic integrated photovoltaic, and space and near-space. It has a strategic relationship with Norsk Hydro Produksjon AS to access customers in the BIPV/BAPV markets worldwide. Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. was founded in 200 5 and is based in Thornton, Colorado.
- [By John Udovich]
Solar stocks have not exactly given buy and hold investors a smooth ride, but small cap GT Advanced Technologies Inc (NASDAQ: GTAT) could be an interesting materials play on the solar sector – meaning its worth taking a closer look at the stock along with potential peers like Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc (NASDAQ: ASTI) and STR Holdings, Inc (NYSE: STRI) plus solar ETF Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSEARCA: TAN). I should mention that just last week, we added GT Advanced Technologies to our SmallCap Network Elite Opportunity (SCN EO) portfolio for both fundamentals and technical reasons and we are already up almost 9%.