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Why SolarCity Corp.'s Shares Popped 33% in March

By Travis Hoium - Apr 7, 2016 at 8:45AM

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The sell-off that hit SolarCity in late 2015 and early 2016 turned around sharply last month.

Image source: SolarCity.

What: Shares of residential solar company SolarCity Corp. (SCTY.DL) got some of its mojo back in March, climbing 33% on the back of some good news for operations.

So what: The biggest pop during the month wasn't for anything operational. Early in the month, there was speculation that Elon Musk may have been looking at taking the company private. Obviously, that didn't take place and it was a little ridiculous to begin with, but shares popped on the news nonetheless.  

The more substantial news was that Whole Foods Market (WFM) would let SolarCity install solar systems on up to 100 stores across the country. This is a big customer for SolarCity and a vote of confidence in the company's commercial solar offerings.  

Now what: The sell-off in SolarCity shares was probably overdone in late 2015 and early 2016, setting the stage for the recovery in March. Fundamentally, there wasn't much that changed about the business, though. Management still has to prove it can lower customer acquisition costs and financing costs or the value creation story will continue to erode. Those are what investors should be watching from SolarCity in the next month as it begins to report financials for 2016.

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