DENVER (AP) -- Shares of several solar companies rose Friday after Credit Suisse analysts said they expect global demand to improve this year, particularly in Japan, the United States and Europe.
In a note published Friday, the analysts said the industry's first-quarter production rate has exceeded the prior demand estimate. In addition, new capacity will be operational in the second half of the year.
However, Credit Suisse raised its 2010 forecast for global sell-in solar demand to 12.7 gigawatts from 10 gigawatts. The consensus estimate is about 8 gigawatts to 9 gigawatts.
"China solar companies appear best positioned to capitalize on these supply and demand trends," the analysts wrote.
Related to the report, Credit Suisse analyst Satya Kumar raised ratings on both China's Trina Solar Ltd. and GT Solar International Inc.
For Trina, the rating was raised to "outperform" from "neutral" and the 12-month stock price target increased to $29 from $18.50 a share.
Kumar trimmed his first-quarter earnings estimate on Trina to 71 cents a share from 79 cents a share, while raising his full-year outlook to $2.39 per share from $1.85 a share.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters have forecast first-quarter earnings of 59 cents a share and full-year earnings of $1.97 a share.
The rating on GT Solar International Inc., based in Merrimack, N.H., was raised to "outperform" from "neutral," and its 12-month price target increased to $7.50 a share from $6 a share.
Kumar raised the fiscal 2010 earnings estimate to 60 cents a share from 57 cents a share and the 2011 earnings estimate to 57 cents a share from 37 cents a share.
Analysts have predicted 2010 earnings of 57 cents a share and 2011 earnings of 52 cents a share.
In afternoon trading, shares of Trina rose $1.47, or 6.6 percent, to $23.61; GT Solar rose 22 cents, or 4 percent, to $5.33; and Canadian Solar Inc. increases 83 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $22.33.
Shares of Suntech Power Holdings Inc. rose 51 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $14.19; Yingli Green Energy Holding Ltd. rose 48 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $12.69; and First Solar Inc. rose $4.35, or 3.9 percent, to $116.42.
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