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Before The Bell: Solar Shines; MicroHoo Twister


The sun is shining on First Solar and News Corp attempts to derail Mr. Softie's bid.

Morning Perspective: Solar Shines

The solar sector was hot in yesterday's trading. Stocks received a lift on First Solar's (FSLR) numbers. The company blew away expectations with net income rising to $62 million, or $0.77 a share, which was $0.22 better than consensus estimates of $0.55. Last year the company reported $8.04 million, or $0.12 per share. Revenues grew 26% annually to $200 million vs. $179 million cons. According to Bloomberg, solar power demand has grown an average of 40% annually over the last four years due to companies seeking alternatives in reducing greenhouse gases. Professor Quint Tatro has been hot on this name. For more of his writing, see his most recent article: Reactionary vs. Anticipatory Trading.

From the Bull Pen: Those bullish in this space may play the upside in FSLR, near-term sell stops may be set below yesterday's low ($207.50). Other plays include MEMC Electronics (WFR) and JA Solar (JASO); sell-stops below $78 and $19 respectively.

From the Bear Cave: Bears may play the downside in Applied Materials (AMAT). Buy-stops above $20.

A New Twist to MicroHoo

The Microsoft (MSFT) / Yahoo (YHOO) story received another twist yesterday. According to Reuters, executives at Yahoo are in talks on a possible deal with News Corp (NWS) to combine their Web properties and give News Corp a more than 20% stake in Yahoo. Analysts remain skeptical, however, that such a deal would succeed. Although the possibility of long term benefits remain for Yahoo shareholders, analysts don't believe the immediate impact could benefit investors as much as the MSFT bid. Earlier this week, Yahoo officially rejected the Microsoft bid of $31 a share, believing the offer "massively undervalues" the company. Read Professor Sean Udall's article Yahoo, Microsoft Best Bets.

From the Bull Pen: Bulls can play the upside in MSFT; sell-stops below $28. An alternative includes Google (GOOG); sell-stops below recent lows $513 or $500 for those with a larger risk profile.

From the Bear Cave: Professor Udall said the short side is thin in this deal. Bears may look to other stocks for downside plays like Sony (SNE); buy-stops above $45.

For more ideas, see Minyanville's Spotlight Stocks.

Quick Check Around the World

It's Valentine's Day today and on the Street, foreign markets are showing bulls some love.

Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +3.68%, Nikkei +4.27%, Sensex +4.82%, Taiwan +4.17% and Shanghai +1.37%.

Glancing over at Europe, we find the CAC +0.97%, DAX +0.50%, FTSE +0.46%, ATX +1.10%, Swiss Mkt. +0.83% and Stockholm +1.15%.

A Look At Commodities

Commodities are lower this morning. Crude oil is trading higher +0.76 to 94.03. Gold is lower -0.90 to 906.50. Silver is down -0.108 to 17.245, and copper is lower -1.30 to 351.25.

As of 8:45 AM EST, S&P futures are trading higher by +4 points to 1367 and Nasdaq futures are up +8.25 points to 1828.

On the Radar


Trade balance: -$58.8 billion vs. -$61.5 bln
Initial Jobless Claims: 348 k vs. 356 k prior
Continuing Claims: 2785 k vs. 2759 k cons. Prior revised to 2770 k from 2785 k.

Click here for Minyanville's full trading radar.

Happy Valentine's Day! Good luck!

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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