First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) and JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited (NYSE:JKS) are both oils/energy companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their profitability, earnings, valuation, risk, institutional ownership, dividends and analyst recommendations.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

60.8% of First Solar shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 23.0% of JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited shares are held by institutional investors. 0.4% of First Solar shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a summary of recent ratings for First Solar and JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
First Solar 1 15 8 0 2.29
JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited 2 1 3 0 2.17

First Solar presently has a consensus target price of $43.70, suggesting a potential downside of 8.07%. JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited has a consensus target price of $21.00, suggesting a potential downside of 23.61%. Given First Solar’s stronger consensus rating and higher probable upside, equities analysts clearly believe First Solar is more favorable than JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares First Solar and JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
First Solar $2.57 billion 1.93 $296.64 million ($4.84) -9.82
JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited $3.26 billion 0.27 $272.54 million $7.12 3.86

First Solar has higher revenue, but lower earnings than JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited. First Solar is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Volatility and Risk

First Solar has a beta of 1.94, meaning that its stock price is 94% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited has a beta of 2.04, meaning that its stock price is 104% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Profitability

This table compares First Solar and JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
First Solar -18.80% 6.43% 4.94%
JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited 6.92% 12.53% 2.46%

Summary

First Solar beats JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited on 8 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

First Solar Company Profile

First Solar, Inc. is a provider of photovoltaic (PV) solar energy solutions. The Company designs, manufactures and sells PV solar modules with a thin-film semiconductor technology. The Company also develops, designs, constructs and sells PV solar power systems that primarily use the modules it manufactures. It operates through two segments: components and systems. The components segment is engaged in the design, manufacture and sale of cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar modules, which convert sunlight into electricity. The systems segment includes the development, construction, operation and maintenance of PV solar power systems, which primarily use its solar modules. In addition, the Company provides operations and maintenance (O&M) services to system owners that use solar modules manufactured by it or by third-party manufacturers. The Company’s solar modules had an average rated power per module of approximately 114 watts, as of December 31, 2016.

JinkoSolar Holding Company Limited Company Profile

JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. operates in the photovoltaic (PV) industry. The Company has built a vertically integrated solar power product value chain, from recovering silicon materials to manufacturing solar modules and solar power generation. The Company’s segments include the manufacturing segment and the solar power projects segment. The manufacturing segment comprises its vertically integrated solar power product manufacturing business, under which the Company manufactures silicon ingots, wafers, cells and solar modules. The solar power projects segment comprises the downstream solar power generation, construction and operation business, including power generation; engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), and connecting solar power projects to the grid, and operation and maintenance (O&M) of the solar power projects. The Company sells its solar modules under the JinkoSolar brand. Its services include solar system EPC and processing services.

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