Stock market trading from the Windicator

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A new start, a solid finish, a better tomorrow, and a less certain today. So reads the current bill of health for the four listed wind turbine manufacturers. The new start belongs to Nordex, which successfully received shareholder approval in late February to push ahead with its recapitalisation plans. The restructuring, which decreases the company's absolute size while bringing new owners on board, is intended to provide capital and stability to a company that has been increasingly short on both. For now, though, analyst coverage of the reduced Nordex has stopped, though the recapitalisation brings hope that Nordex will return to form.

xThe solid finish, meanwhile, belongs to Gamesa. Analysts deemed its 2004 year end results to be "reasonable and in line with expectations," words not used for some time in relation to the wind sector. Particularly positive reaction was given to the performance of turbine division Gamesa Eólica, which reported a significant increase in international expansion (27% for 2004 against just 1% for 2003), as well as a strong order book. Gamesa's shares were up almost 6% for the quarter.

xA better tomorrow is the question circling around Vestas and for now the jury is out. With a new chief executive officer on his way and poor 2004 results out of the way, there is a sense that perhaps a line can be drawn under what has been a tumultuous year. News of orders flowing out of the US has some analysts talking about potential profit upgrades and improving recommendations on the stock. Others continue to be bearish. Vestas was the best performing wind stock over the last quarter, up 25%.

xLastly, a less certain future seems to be reason for pause in relation to Repower. Two profit downgrades in short order, apparently due to implementation of large international projects, are unsettling. As Repower's previous momentum and positive sentiment revolved around its international expansion and diversification away from the German market, the news hits hard.

xPerformance for the wind sector as a whole outpaced the broad stock market, with a 9.6% rise for the four companies compared to 6.7% for the wider market. Analyst coverage of the sector fell off primarily due to Nordex's disappearance from their radar screens.

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