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Why First Solar, DigitalGlobe, and DreamWorks Animation Tumbled Today

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Early Wednesday, it appeared that the S&P 500 might head for a new all-time record high. A late-day pull back caused stocks to give back most of their gains for the day, although major-market benchmarks still poked barely into positive territory. For First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR  ) , DigitalGlobe (NYSE: DGI  ) , and DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ: DWA  ) , however, investors weren't as lucky as the stocks suffered substantial losses.

First Solar fell 9% after the solar giant's earnings report last night didn't meet up to what investors had hoped to see. Both past and future results led to tough questions for the utility-solar specialist, with the particular concern being First Solar's estimate of current-quarter earnings to come in around 30% to 40% below investors' expectations. The concern for First Solar is that for the most part, it has ceded the residential solar market to competitors SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR  ) and SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY  ) . As long as First Solar can keep finding big-project customers, it should fare OK, but pressure on sales suggests that its efforts might not be sufficient.

DigitalGlobe plunged 27% after the mapping and imagery specialist announced its earnings results as well as an acquisition. Fourth-quarter revenue jumped 35%, but earnings-per-share fell by half on a large increase in share counts. Moreover, sales guidance of $630 million to $660 million for 2014 represents just 3% to 8% growth, hardly giving DigitalGlobe investors the assurance they'd prefer that the company will keep moving in the right direction. Moreover, without knowing the terms under which DigitalGlobe acquired energy-industry digital-imagery specialist Spatial Energy, it's hard to assess whether the acquisition will be positive or negative to DigitalGlobe's overall prospects.

DreamWorks dropped 12% following the studio's earnings report, which included a 23% drop in revenue due largely to poor DVD sales of its Turbo release. Bulls pointed to some improvement in the company's television segment, as DreamWorks tries to follow Disney's lead in becoming a broadly diversified entertainment company. Nevertheless, DreamWorks is pinning its hopes on the sequel to How to Train Your Dragon as well as the new Mr. Peabody & Sherman release. If those features pan out well, then DreamWorks could make back the ground it has lost from Turbo's surprisingly poor performance.

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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