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Shares of First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR), the largest U.S. solar company, are surging by nearly 6.5 percent today on volume that will likely top the daily average of nearly 4.2 million shares. A rumor that the company could be a takeover target for General Electric (NYSE: GE) hit trading desks earlier in the day, propelling shares higher.

Dow component GE is trading lower by 0.62 percent as of this writing. The rumor, while still unconfirmed, is not entirely without merit. Industrial conglomerate GE has solar operations and by some accounts, the company has emerged as a viable rival to First Solar in the production of thin-film solar cells.

Still, it is worth noting First Solar has been mentioned as possible takeover target for several years, yet remains an independent company. In 2010, Arizona-based First Solar was rumored to be a potential target for German industrial conglomerate Siemens (NYSE: SI).

In late 2011, a Citigroup analyst speculated GE or Samsung could move on First Solar. Around the same time, Bloomberg ran an article speculating First Solar could be a target for GE or Siemens.

First Solar was trading over $34 when that Bloomberg piece ran on December 22, 2011. The shares now trade just over $32. With a market value of $2.82 billion, First Solar is one of the smallest companies by that metric in the S&P 500. The stock accounts for just 0.1 percent of the total weight of the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY). That puts First Solar in a tie with five other stocks for the smallest weight in SPY, the world's largest ETF by assets.

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