The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -0.32%) has seen extraordinary volatility recently, with the index tending to make larger moves in both directions than some of its benchmark counterparts. The same held true on Tuesday afternoon, with the Nasdaq down almost 2% as of 2 p.m. ET, compared to more modest losses for other key stock market indexes.
With earnings season set to start within the next week or so, investors are looking for any advance information they can get about what to expect from businesses when they report their quarterly results. Wall Street is happy to oblige, and professional analysts gave some viewpoints on a couple of popular Nasdaq stocks that moved lower by greater percentage amounts than the broader market.
Casting a shadow over First Solar
Shares of First Solar were down more than 4% in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq. The solar giant has lost a third of its value since November 2021, and today's drop didn't do shareholders any favors on that front.
Analysts at Bank of America weighed in on First Solar today, downgrading their rating on the solar stock from neutral to underperform. They also cut their price target by $11 per share to $65.50, which is more than 20% below where the share price closed on Monday.
Bank of America explained its view that First Solar hasn't established itself as a strong-enough player in the solar industry from a fundamental business standpoint. Combine that with the fact that the stock has managed to rise by 30% from its February lows, and analysts are skeptical that the bounce has any true justification.
Ordinarily, periods when oil prices are on the rise have traditionally been strong for alternative-energy companies because the costs of solar and other renewable sources look more favorable, by comparison, in a rising fossil-fuel price environment. However, with some key inputs for solar-panel production also seeing substantial price increases, it's far from a foregone conclusion that First Solar and its peers will be able to take advantage of high oil and natural gas prices.
Adding insult to injury at Starbucks
Starbucks shares lost another 4% on Tuesday afternoon. It was the second move lower in two days for the coffee stock, which saw analysts pile on after the company itself decided on Monday to halt its stock-buyback program.
Wedbush was the analyst company responsible for the downbeat assessment on Starbucks, as it cut its rating on the coffee stock from outperform to neutral. Wedbush also reduced its price target on Starbucks stock by $14 per share to $91.
The problem the analysts cited had to do with returning interim-CEO Howard Schultz's decision to move funds previously dedicated to buybacks for reinvestment in the business and Starbucks' employees. In Wedbush's view, that raises the potential for Starbucks to stop seeing double-digit percentage earnings growth, especially given that money spent on business enhancements might not yield an immediate return in profits.
With the decline, Starbucks moved back to within 10% of its worst level since mid-2020 -- the toughest period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Few question Starbucks' viability as a business over the long run, but negative short-term sentiment has some less-solid supporters of the coffee stock thinking twice on Tuesday.