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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: SunPower, Total, Suntech Power Holdings, First Solar and Broadcom

CHICAGO, Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq:SPWR), Total S.A. (NYSE:TOT), Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE:STP), First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq:FSLR) and Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq:BRCM).


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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

SunPower Extends Pact with Toshiba

SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq:SPWR) has extended its long-standing supply agreement with Toshiba through 2018. Pursuant to the supply agreement, SunPower would provide over 100 megawatts of its highest efficiency residential solar panels annually exclusively to Toshiba. Toshiba would offer solar systems with SunPower's highest efficiency solar modules in the rapidly growing Japanese residential market. Since the company first teamed up with Toshiba in 2010, it has delivered more than 150 MW of its high-performance solar panels.

Toshiba Corporation is a Japanese multinational electronics, electrical equipment and information technology corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

SunPower is a vertically integrated solar company with presence across the entire solar value chain. The company designs, develops, manufactures, markets and sells high-performance solar electric power technology products, systems and services worldwide for residential, commercial and utility-scale power plant customers. The company's semiconductor-based solar cells and solar panels, which convert sunlight into electricity, are manufactured using proprietary processes and technologies. SunPower is largely owned by French oil major Total S.A. (NYSE:TOT).

SunPower's customer base is spread across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. The company is proactive in entering new markets. In addition to a sizeable presence in the US, it is already focusing on improving market share in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan, while gaining new market share in emerging markets like England, Greece, Israel and Malta. SunPower is also increasing its global market presence within the residential and commercial markets by expanding its network of dealers. Finally, by steering clear of long-term contracts for sales through its dealer network, the company is geared for margin growth on the back of any short-term upswing in the solar market.

SunPower is however witnessing falling Average Selling Prices and margins in its residential and small commercial markets segment which accounts for approximately two-thirds of its top line. We expect the trend to continue unabated in the near future with valuation further restrained by the higher cost structure of the company compared to its peers. Other risks include subsidy roll-back in Europe and foreign exchange risk.

SunPower presently retains a short-term Zacks #2 Rank (Buy). Over the longer run we maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

SunPower mainly competes with Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE:STP) and First Solar, Inc. (Nasdaq:FSLR).

Broadcom's Latest Smartphone Portal

Leading chipmaker Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq:BRCM) recently declared the inclusion of its latest smartphone platform in its product profile. The newly launched process is entirely compatible with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system (OS). The 3G platform embedded with BCM21664T 1.2GHz HSPA+ cellular baseband is considered to be the first dual-core HSPA+ processor in the industry which is especially designed for low-end smartphones.

Broadcom's advanced platform will be engaged in integrating Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Near Field Communications (NFC) process. Moreover, with the association of Dual ARM Cortex A9 and VideoCore® graphics, the 3G portal will be able to provide very high data speed along with faster computing process at a very reasonable cost.

The new device has various features including 21.1 Mbps of downstream connectivity, 5.8 Mbps of upstream connectivity; it has graphic features of 720p HD recording and it supports full 1080p playback and with low power consumption, the platform has an option of 3G/2G dual SIM-dual standby mode. Moreover, with the help of radio frequency (RF), power management unit (PMU) and an advanced connectivity suite the 3G portal will offer a complete system solution. The latest chipset is expected to improve the efficacy of entire Android 4.2 operating system. 

Broadcom's customized solutions would surely mitigate the increasing demand in the industry thus enhancing its business. Broadcom is well placed in the fast-growing wired and wireless communications markets, with cutting-edge solutions for a growing number of connected users, who are demanding more content and bandwidth. The market for wireless connectivity devices is expected to grow further, driven by increasing demand of smartphones, tablets, netbooks and digital TVs.

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About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

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About Zacks is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leon Zacks. As a PhD from MIT Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros at

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