Why Trina Solar Shares Fizzled Out

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of solar cell and photovoltaic panel manufacturer Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL  ) had its lights turned out this morning, with shares dropping as much as 10% after the company cut its shipping forecast for the second quarter by nearly 20%.

So what: Trina Solar reduced its shipment volume forecast earlier this morning to a range of 390MW-420MW from a previous forecast of 500MW-520MW, and noted that gross margins would fall to between 7% and 9% from its previous forecast of 10%. The company placed the blame squarely on large projects in China being pushed back to the second half of 2012, and the uncertainty revolving around the United States' new tariff on the import of solar products from China.

Now what: Are we really surprised? Solar companies are missing estimates left and right because of weakening demand, tighter government spending worldwide, and falling prices. Trina has widely missed Wall Street's earnings estimates in the past three quarters and chances are today's reduced shipping forecast will take the possibility of it being profitable next year off the table as well. Until we see two successive quarters of growth, Trina isn't a company I'd personally trust. Yet, there is one solar company that I, the Fool's resident solar geek, Travis Hoium, and Alex Planes did agree is a buy.

Craving more input? Start by adding Trina Solar to your free and personalized Watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

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