SunPower Corp., the solar-panel maker that announced a $2.5 billion deal with Warren Buffett’s utility yesterday, rose the most in more than seven years after Lazard Capital Markets LLC upgraded it.
SunPower climbed 48 percent to $9:07 at the close in New York, the biggest gain for the San Jose, California-based company since Nov. 17, 2005. The BI Solar Index of 17 companies climbed 14 percent, its largest gain since March 26, 2009.
Large-scale utility solar plants, similar to the projects that Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. agreed to buy, and cost reductions will help boost SunPower’s earnings through 2014, Lazard’s Sanjay Shrestha and Aditya Satghare wrote in a note to clients today. They raised the shares to buy from neutral.
“As investors gain confidence in meaningful upside to current street estimates, the shares should continue to move higher,” according to the note.
Lazard set a price target of $11 a share, almost double the $5.68 average target price of ten analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.