LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK) reported earnings last night, and if you look at the stock's drop this morning you may have thought it missed estimates by a wide margin. But as we've seen with other solar stocks, reported earnings rarely matter. Investors are overlooking the fact that earnings per share of $0.95 easily topped analysts' estimates of $0.86 and are focusing on "weak" guidance.

In the first quarter, revenue was $766.3 million, up 120.5% from last year but down 16.8% sequentially. Wafer shipments were up slightly to 631.5 MW in the quarter but module shipments dropped to 118.7 MW from 157.2 MW last quarter in a step away from vertical integration.

But investors are focusing on the fact that LDK said it expected revenue to be between $710 million and $760 million in the second quarter, below the $783 million analysts expected.

On the plus side, even though module shipments were down, gross margins increased to 31.5% from 27.3% in the fourth quarter.

Earnings have been uneven at best for solar manufacturers in the first quarter. For the most part, module shipments have been down for most manufacturers, but earnings have beaten expectations. Chinese competitors JA Solar (Nasdaq: JASO) and Canadian Solar (Nasdaq: CSIQ) both beat expectations last month, but it hasn't helped their stocks. First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR), one of the largest manufacturers, reported another earnings blowout that left its stock in the dumps.

LDK Solar's earnings haven't impressed the market, but the company ended the first quarter with $515.1 million in cash, it just sold a portion of its polysilicon business for $240 million, and the company is profitable. LDK isn't taking the path of Chinese manufacturers like Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) or Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE), which are trying to integrate vertically, but it also isn't struggling to survive.

LDK hasn't exactly been reliable with estimates, so I'm a little surprised the market is putting so much stock in these numbers. In the fourth quarter, the company raised estimates only to have to lower them in the first quarter, and I wouldn't be surprised if management was a little skittish about overpromising again.

I'm not ready to throw any real money at LDK considering the heavy debt load and uncertainty in the industry, but I will keep my thumbs-up rating on CAPS to follow the stock and will definitely keep it in My Watchlist.

Interested in reading more about LDK Solar? Click here to add it to My Watchlist to find all of our Foolish analysis on this stock.

Fool contributor Travis Hoium owns shares of First Solar. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.

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