Are First Solar’s Frustrated Shareholders Pulling Back During Political Heat?

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For the year-to-date, First Solar Inc.’s (NASDAQ:FSLR) shares are down 65.52 percent. The company complained on Wednesday, along with Ecotality Inc. (NASDAQ:ECTY), about a Mitt Romney ad characterizing their receipt of government grants and loans.

On Tuesday, the Romney campaign released the ad, which focused on renewable companies. It began with Solyndra, the California solar manufacturer that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after receiving a $535 million government loan. The ad then tried to show parallels between the Solyndra’s money and the sum that went to First Solar and Ecotality.

Ted Meyer, vice president of global corporate communications for First Solar said of the ad,“It’s surprising a candidate that claims to support U.S. economic growth would criticize a great American success story like First Solar. First Solar has proven that an American company can compete and win in renewable energy globally, and our success supports almost 10,000 American jobs, more than $1 billion in U.S. purchasing, tens of millions of dollars in exports, and record-setting innovation that reduces pollution and enhances U.S. energy security.”

With the negative depiction of the company by the Romney ad, will First Solar’s largest shareholders decrease their positions? 366 institutional firms indicated owning shares of First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) in Q1 2012. These firms reported owning a total of 75.968 million shares on 03/31/2012 . The shares closed at $25.05 on 03/31/2012.

Here are the ten largest positions in First Solar, Inc. at the end of March 31st, 2012.

Capital World Investors held 8,548,595 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $214,142,298.

Price T Rowe Associates Inc /MD/ held 5,981,990 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $149,848,845.

Morgan Stanley held 3,989,998 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $99,949,447.

Vanguard Group Inc held 3,160,875 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $79,179,916.

I.g. Investment Management Ltd. held 2,306,500 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $57,777,823.

State Street Corp held 2,262,003 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $56,663,173.

Susquehanna International Group LLP held 2,239,700 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $56,104,000.

D. E. Shaw & Co. Inc. held 1,643,400 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $41,167,000.

Blackrock Institutional Trust Company N.A. held 1,579,657 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $39,570,407.

Invesco Ltd. held 1,513,447 shares on 03/31/2012 worth $37,911,846.

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