Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
All good things must come to an end, but optimists aren't giving up without a fight today following a lack of incredibly important economic and company-specific data.
With few material market drivers, investors turned their focus to the crude inventories release, which showed a drop of 4.73 million barrels --considerably more than the 2.94 million barrel decrease from the previous week. A drop in crude inventories has helped fuel a rally in West Texas Intermediate prices back over $100/barrel. This triple-digit figure is notable because it's the point at which it could start pinching consumers in their pocketbooks, with consumer goods and fuel becoming more expensive.
By day's end, the broad-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) couldn't muster the energy to push to yet another closing high, but ultimately only fell by a fraction, 0.62 points (-0.03%), to close at 1,841.40.
Topping the list of gainers, and leading all stocks to the upside today, was electric and all-terrain vehicle developer Kandi Technologies (NASDAQ: KNDI ) , which surged 25.9% on the heels of its comments earlier this week that it sees sales of its electric vehicles accelerating, and perhaps even surpassing the potential of its ATVs and other vehicle types in 2014. As Fool Jeremy Bowman notes, Kandi Technologies is a prime beneficiary of China's attempt to get 100,000 electric vehicles on the road in a massive car-sharing project to help reduce emissions within the country, as well as the number of total cars on the road. While EV euphoria is near an all-time high, I would suggest that much of Kandi's high expectations are already baked into its share price.
Renewable products company Amyris (NASDAQ: AMRS ) continued its rapid ascent, gaining 16% after announcing the private placement of $28 million in senior convertible promissory notes on Tuesday. As Fool Dan Caplinger pointed out on Tuesday, Total (NYSE: TOT ) , one of Amyris' largest investors, agreed to cancel more than $6 million in outstanding convertible notes in order to finance its share of the deal, demonstrating the confidence in investors behind Amyris' renewable products. As for me, I feel that the recent rally and financing may have bought Amyris some breathing room, but the company's inability to turn a profit is a worrisome long-term trend.
Finally, and sticking with the theme of renewables today, Solazyme (NASDAQ: SZYM ) , a company that utilizes algae to produce oils and biomaterials, surged 7.9% on what appears to be nothing more than technical trading. We should consider that the entire renewables sector has been on fire over the past week, so today's move could have a lot to do with optimism throughout the industry. Beyond Solazyme's cool technology, however, we have a company that is probably going to burn through its existing cash during the next couple of years, as it builds its customer base. With that being said, a wait-and-see approach might be the most prudent here.
Is this company your ticket to big gains in 2014?
Imagine a company that rents a very specific and valuable piece of machinery for $41,000... per hour (that's almost as much as the average American makes in a year!). And Warren Buffett is so confident in this company's can't-live-without-it business model, he just loaded up on 8.8 million shares. An exclusive, brand-new Motley Fool report reveals the company we're calling OPEC's Worst Nightmare. Just click HERE to uncover the name of this industry-leading stock... and join Buffett in his quest for a veritable LANDSLIDE of profits!