When I was about 7 years old, my older brother told me that the word "news" was nothing more than an acronym for the four points on a compass: North, East, West, and South. For years, I accepted this as the truth and was mildly disappointed when I later learned that it was simply a convenient coincidence.
Nevertheless, I was reminded of this coincidence yesterday as I was reading about Evergreen Solar's
At first, I thought the company was moving forward (North) because Evergreen Solar reported that it had narrowed its losses in the first quarter to $6.2 million and increased its revenues 22% to $14.1 million.
Then, I found myself thinking the company was headed South because company officials estimated that its losses for the second quarter would increase to around $8 million, and its revenues were expected to drop to the neighborhood of $13 million.
Based the stock's movements, it's clear that the market favors the second scenario: The stock is off over 10% since the announcement.
As a long-term investor, though, I would advise investors to pay less attention to the quarterly reports and instead focus attention on two other news items the company reported yesterday.
First, Evergreen announced that it would be building a new $150 million manufacturing facility in Massachusetts. This suggests to me the company is making good on its promise to increase capacity -- a vital ingredient for its future growth prospects.
Second, it also announced on Tuesday that it had signed a multiyear agreement with DC Chemical to supply polysilicon. In total, Evergreen will receive enough polysilicon to make approximately 1 gigawatt worth of photovoltaic cells through 2014. This news also bodes well as a sign of long-term growth.
What, then, is an investor to make of all of this conflicting news? My advice: Stand still for the time being. In the short term, the company isn't expected to make a profit until sometime in 2008. As such, I believe investors interested in solar are better off investing in profitable solar companies such as Suntech Power
Longer term, though, once it's clear that Evergreen's management team not only has its compass pointing in the right direction but is successfully executing on its strategy to move the company in that direction (by lowering manufacturing costs and improving its technology), I would invite investors to revisit the stock.
Fool contributor Jack Uldrich gets his news from all directions and sometimes even "diggs" for it on digg.com. He owns stock in Suntech Power, which is a Rule Breakers selection, as is the PowerShares WilderHill fund. The Fool has a strict disclosure policy.