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After Hours: Walmart Sues Tesla, Cree Beats on Q4 Estimates, Whiffs on Guidance

By Eric Volkman - Aug 20, 2019 at 9:55PM

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The two big companies come to legal blows over allegedly faulty solar panels, while the LED lighting specialist disappoints on guidance.

As has been the case throughout this earnings season, some of the most actively traded stocks in the after-market hours tonight are ones that just released quarterly results.

Some, but not all. There was also late-breaking news regarding a pair of companies that usually aren't mentioned in the same breath. All things considered, it hasn't been a boring after-hours session thus far.

House outfitted with solar panels

Image source: Tesla.

Walmart taking Tesla to court over solar panels

Walmart (WMT -6.79%) has filed a lawsuit in a New York state court against Tesla (TSLA -6.80%). The suit alleges that solar panels supplied by Tesla and installed on the rooftops of seven Walmart stores caught fire. The retailer claims that Tesla has committed breach of contract and gross negligence and has not met industry standards.

For relief, it is asking Tesla to remove panels from over 240 Walmart stores. It's also requesting the company pay damages arising from the fires.

In the suit, Walmart alleges numerous and varied instances of neglect on the part of Tesla. Among other claims, it asserts that Tesla did not properly ground its installations and that some of the installed equipment was visibly defective.

Tesla made a big splash when it acquired SolarCity in 2016 for $2.6 billion. Since then, however, the business has lost market share to rival companies

The timing of this lawsuit is not auspicious for Tesla. Only two days ago, the company's CEO, Elon Musk, tweeted that Tesla Solar, as the unit is now known, had relaunched.

Given Tesla's numerous other tribulations and missteps, the potential legal hit from this lawsuit probably won't be too severe. Still, the case has the potential to cause trouble, and investors should keep a wary eye on how it develops.

Tonight, Tesla shares are down by almost 2%; Walmart's are trading flat. 

Cree Q4 guidance disappoints

Cree (WOLF -4.37%), considered by many to be a marijuana stock because the company's energy-efficient lighting solutions are popular with cannabis growers, has reported its Q4 of fiscal 2019 results.

The quarter's revenue came in at just over $251 million, which was 5% below the same quarter of last year. Non-GAAP (adjusted) net income came in at $11.5 million, or $0.11 per share, a bit shy of the Q4 of 2018 result of $14.5 million ($0.14). Both of the current figures slightly topped the average analyst estimates, which were for $248 million on the top line, and per-share adjusted earnings of $0.10

During the quarter, Cree was hit by the U.S. government's trade war with China. This particularly affected business with a key customer of the company, Chinese tech giant Huawei. Cree also pointed a finger at "softness" in its core LED lighting market.

Cree proffered guidance for its current Q1 of fiscal 2020. The company believes its sales will land in a range of $237 million to $243 million, with an adjusted net loss of $0.03 to $0.07 per share. Both are quite far from the average prognosticator expectations of $260 million on the top line, and a per-share adjusted net profit of $0.14. 

The market is indicating its displeasure with Cree this evening. The company's stock is down by nearly 5% in after-hours action.  

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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Stock Quote
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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Wolfspeed, Inc.
$71.84 (-4.37%) $-3.28
Tesla, Inc. Stock Quote
Tesla, Inc.
$709.81 (-6.80%) $-51.80

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