Why GT Advanced Technologies Shares Shorted Out

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What: Shares of GT Advanced Technologies (NASDAQOTH: GTATQ  ) are off 5% today after a late-day surge that recovered half of the stock's midday 10% loss. The market isn't quite sure how to react to a mixed earnings report that offered a narrower-than-expected loss, but less revenue than anticipated. A warning about customers backing out of contracts may also be a prime driver of the drop.

So what: GT Advanced posted revenue of $57.8 million and recorded an adjusted loss of $0.07 per share. The top line was weaker than Wall Street's $58.8 million consensus, but the loss per share was half that which Wall Street expected. That would be good news, especially since GT Advanced confirmed full-year fiscal 2013 guidance in the $500 million to $600 million range, offering significant potential upside against the $517.2 million consensus.

However, the company warned that some of its customers may not honor purchase agreements. This has led to a reported backlog of $851 million, which was reduced by $356 million from earlier totals. The company has effectively admitted that it now has hundreds of millions of dollars worth of sapphire furnaces that it can't get rid of.

Now what: The late-day partial recovery indicates some belief that the backlog worries are overstated, but this likely means that GT Advanced will be taking more time to gain profitable footing. With other solar companies making notable strides, it's worth asking yourself whether you feel GT Advanced is really better than its competition, as a solar play or as a growth-stock play.

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