Biggest Solar Gainers on Trump Tariff Were Expected to Be Losers

(Bloomberg) -- Vivint Solar Inc. and Sunrun Inc. led solar stocks higher Tuesday after President Donald Trump imposed tariffs of up to 30 percent on panels imported into the U.S.

Vivint rose 6.3 percent to $3.78 at 9:50 a.m. in New York, after earlier climbing as much as 9.9 percent. Sunrun rose as much as 8.8 percent to $6.57 a share. They were among the biggest gainers in the Wilderhill New Energy Global Innovation index. Enphase Energy Inc., a supplier of electrical inverters for solar panels, gained 17 percent, to $2.30 a share.

In the run up to Trump’s decision, investors had been selling the shares in expectation of bigger tariffs. While the duties imposed will increase equipment costs for installers for several years, they are lower than the industry expected, said Jeffrey Osborne, an analyst at Cowen & Co.

“It will be a relief to installers and not so bad for Asia’s exporters,” Osborne said in an interview. “This wasn’t a nuclear decision from Trump that threatens the solar industry.”

In the nine months since the dispute began, U.S. panel maker First Solar Inc. had more than doubled in anticipation of steep tariffs that would increase demand for its thin-film panels, which were exempted from the tariffs. Another panel maker, SunPower Corp., gained on the possibility that its technology may also get an exemption that has yet to appear. Both shares were up slightly Tuesday, but lagged the installation companies.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.