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Metro Phoenix's First Solar shares soar on strong outlook

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Shares of First Solar Inc. soared Tuesday after it issued a better-than-expected outlook for 2013 and solid predictions for the following two years, helped by continued growth in module shipments.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based company said it expects to post a 2013 profit of $4 to $4.50 per share on $3.8 billion to $4 billion in revenue. That's well ahead of average Wall Street predictions for $3.60 per share in earnings and $3.17 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

The company's shares jumped $11.52, or 43 percent, to $38.56 in afternoon trading after peaking at $41 earlier in the day, its highest level in 15 months.

The struggling company also set a 2014 profit target of $2.50 to $4 per share on $3.5 billion to $4 billion in revenue, which bracketed analysts' estimates of $3.49 per share in earnings and $3.37 billion in revenue.

For 2015, the company is targeting a profit of $4 to $6 per share and $4.2 billion to $4.8 billion in revenue. Analysts expect a profit of $3.37 per share on $3.7 billion in revenue.

First Solar said it expects its 2013 module shipments to total between 1.6 gigawatts and 1.8 gigawatts, before rising to 1.8 gigawatts to 2.2 gigawatts next year and to between 2.3 gigawatts and 2.7 gigawatts in 2015.

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