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Solar shares shine after Trump talks up 'solar wall'

by Reuters
Thursday, 22 June 2017 20:50 GMT

A man views solar panels on a roof at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., on June 18, 2007. REUTERS/Kimberly White

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"Trump talked yesterday about a 'solar wall' on the Mexican border - that might sound like a joke but it's not," says one analyst

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed

NEW YORK, June 22 (Reuters) - Shares of solar companies soared on Thursday and their options drew a rush of bullish activity a day after U.S. President Donald Trump broached the subject of placing solar-power panels on his proposed wall along the Mexican border.

First Solar Inc's shares rose 3.2 pct to $38.42 and SunPower Corp shares were up 13 percent to $8.69. Shares of the Guggenheim Solar fund rose 2.5 pct to $19.39.

Raymond James energy analyst Pavel Molchanov cited Trump's comments about possibly putting solar panels on the wall during a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday as the reason behind the spike in the shares.

"Trump talked yesterday about a 'solar wall' on the Mexican border - that might sound like a joke but it's not," he said.

Solar panels are among proposals that have been submitted by companies interested in the wall project to the Department of Homeland Security, according to media reports.

Molchanov warned investors this was not a good reason to chase the rally in shares.

"Setting aside the broader question of whether the wall will even be politically realistic, the notion that it will be covered in solar hardware is entirely far-fetched," he said. "It is hard to take this idea seriously."

Molchanov has a "market perform" rating on First Solar and an "outperform" rating on SunPower.

Traders in the options market took the opportunity to load up on bullish call options on First Solar, SunPower and Canadian Solar Inc.

Calls convey the right to buy shares at a fixed price in the future and usually are used to place bets on shares rising.

Near-term calls on First Solar and SunPower changed hands at a rapid pace, sending trading volume to several times their daily average, according to options analytics firm Trade Alert.

Solar stocks, including Vivint Solar and Sunrun Inc got a boost on Tuesday after Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating on Vivint to "buy," citing potential for mergers and acquisitions in the sector. (Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Daniel Bases and Bill Trott)

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