SunPower fourth-quarter tops Street, but 2014 view disappoints

LOS ANGELES Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:04pm EST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - SunPower Corp (SPWR.O) on Wednesday reported a quarterly profit that soared past Wall Street estimates on strong solar demand in the U.S. utility and residential markets, but its 2014 outlook disappointed as investors had hoped for more from the fast-growing company.

SunPower shares fell more than 4 percent in after-hours trade.

Fourth-quarter net income totaled $22.3 million, or 15 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $144.8 million, or $1.22 per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 47 cents a share, beating the average Wall Street estimate of 28 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

For full-year 2014, SunPower forecast earnings before items of $1 to $1.30 a share - essentially in line with analysts' average forecast of $1.18.

"The market was hoping for more," Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov said in an email.

After several years of enduring a global oversupply of solar panels, rapidly falling product prices and elusive profits, SunPower is once again making money. Investors have been pleased at the company's progress, and its stock has gained 250 percent since hitting a 52-week low in April 2013.

SunPower is majority owned by French energy giant Total SA (TOTF.PA).

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; editing by Jonathan Oatis and G Crosse)

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