Why Northwest Biotherapeutics, Ballard Power Systems, and Plug Power Are Today's 3 Best Stocks

Weak export data from China weighed on the S&P 500 all day, but Northwest Biotherapeutics, Ballard Power Systems, and Plug Power all soared higher.

Mar 10, 2014 at 5:15PM

With no domestic economic news on the docket, the broad-based S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) took its early cues from the Shanghai Composite which fell nearly 3% overnight following abysmal Chinese export data.

Overseas shipments from China dipped 18.1% in February, which looks even worse when compared to analyst forecasts for an expansion of 7.5%! The Chinese New Year certainly makes visibility difficult for economists sometimes, but we're talking about a better than 25% miss here that could signal the Chinese economy is weakening. That's not even in the ballpark, and it's one reason why the markets headed decisively lower in the early morning.

By day's end, however, the S&P 500 had recouped much of its losses as the situation in Ukraine, which is a daily geopolitical hot spot now, had not worsened, and what select earnings reports were out there trended toward better than expected.

The S&P 500 finished lower by just 0.87 points (-0.05%) to close at 1,877.17, which is much better than its earlier intraday low of 1,867.

One of the day's biggest gainers was small-cap clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Northwest Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ:NWBO), which gained 29.6% after Germany granted its experimental immunotherapy DCVax-L two special approvals. The first approval, from Germany's equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is a five-year-term "hospital exemption" that allows German hospitals to use DCVax-L in treating newly diagnosed and recurrent glioma brain cancers. This exemption will allow Northwest Biotherapeutics to charge full price for its treatment outside of its ongoing U.S. clinical trials.

In addition, the German reimbursement authority made DCVax-L eligible for health insurance reimbursement in the nation. A press release noted that six hospitals have applied for reimbursement eligibility thus far. This is clearly good news for Northwest Biotherapeutics and could go a long way toward validating its immunotherapy platform. However, I'd keep in mind that this is but one country, and its success in the U.S. via ongoing phase 3 studies is far more crucial. Investors should not get carried away by chasing today's news too much higher.

The S&P 500 standouts, though, once again were fuel-cell system developers Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG), which gained 24.7%, and Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ:BLDP), which claimed top honors with a 30.3% daily gain. What's really interesting is that neither move had any company-specific news behind it today, with both stocks feeding off of optimism from last week.

For Plug Power, that continues to be the bullishness surrounding its order to supply 1,738 fuel-cell systems for forklifts in select Wal-Mart warehouses throughout the U.S. The thinking from investors here is that a large client such as Wal-Mart could open a number of doors for Plug Power to gain new contracts, and could even remove some of the lumpiness with its revenue stream that shareholders have become accustomed to over the years.

Ballard Power Systems shareholders seem most excited by the fact that nearly 5 million warrants were exercised last week related to two 2013 underwritten share offerings. These warrants helped to generate $7.6 million in additional funds for Ballard, which it can use for general corporate purposes, as well as research and development.

The key point to note here is that both Plug Power and Ballard Power Systems are losing money. Plug may have snagged itself an elephant in Wal-Mart, but with a $1.1 billion valuation and the expectation of perhaps $60 million in revenue in fiscal 2014, the move may be a bit excessive. The same could be said for Ballard Power which is closing in on an earnings-per-share breakeven point (likely by 2016), but is valued at close to eight times next year's revenue. This looks like a sector that could deflate any day.

Fuel-cell developers are soaring, but even they may be no match for this top stock in 2014
There's a huge difference between a good stock and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

The Motley Fool has no position in any companies mentioned in this article. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers