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Why FuelCell Energy, Atlantic Power, and Sonic Jumped Today

Tuesday started out looking a lot like Monday did, with early gains giving way to greater nervousness. Yet unlike yesterday, the stock market managed to recapture those early gains and post a solid advance for the session, bolstered by positive news on the consumer front. Yet even the Dow's nearly 100-point rise was modest compared to the advances that FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ: FCEL  ) , Atlantic Power (NYSE: AT  ) , and Sonic (NASDAQ: SONC  ) managed to give their shareholders today.

FuelCell technology used at a Dominion Resources plant in Bridgeport, Conn. Source: Dominion Resources.

FuelCell Energy jumped 20%, yet in some ways, that was actually disappointing to some shareholders in light of the action elsewhere in the space. After having whipsawed in both directions lately, the CEO of Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG  ) said that the fuel-cell maker had gotten an order from a global automaker. Despite CEO Andy Marsh's failure to elaborate on the potential deal, traders chose to take the news as a sign of huge optimism, sending Plug shares up almost 50% on the day. That optimism spread throughout the sector, as Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ: BLDP  ) also posted a sharp gain of 32% on Plug's news. At this point, speculative fervor has taken over the fuel-cell industry, making it difficult for long-term investors to get a solid read on the sector. When even hints of positive news can send stocks soaring, the risk level in a particular stock is almost always higher than ordinary investors should take without being fully prepared to suffer potentially catastrophic losses.

Atlantic Power gained almost 10% after the utility company said that it would boost the size of its tender offer to repurchase some of its outstanding debt. The company said that in addition to its original $150 million offer, private negotiations had led to another $140 million in repurchases of Atlantic Power's 9% senior notes maturing in 2018. The company has managed to sustain a dividend that currently yields about 12% at present share prices, but debt remains a big issue for the company. As a result, though, refinancing efforts could allow Atlantic Power to take maximum advantage of current low rates and put itself in the best position to profit in the future.

Sonic climbed 12% after the restaurant chain reported solid earnings last night. Adjusted earnings beat expectations by a penny per share, overcoming sluggish revenue growth that might well have come from weather-related issues for the drive-in-themed chain. Even with weather considerations, same-store sales rose 1.4%. Moreover, the company believes that the second half of its fiscal year could look even brighter, as its novel approach to the business draws customers. Interestingly, although several analysts made positive comments about Sonic's results, they nevertheless are unsure about the chance for further share-price appreciation, with some price targets actually below the current price of the stock.

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Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (5)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2014, at 8:59 PM, SELLmtg wrote:

    My opinion: Buy PMCM ( a marijuana co. that owns

    an marijuana store in Seattle, WA (,

    news 3/19). PMCM=0.0047 (as of 3/25) and will go

    up higher. PMCM is the only public company that owns a marijuana store in WA where WA is 1 of the 2 states that legalized marijuana. Buy PMCM.

    PMCM went up more than 56% today (3/25) which is

    a higher % gain than PLUG. Buy PMCM.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2014, at 11:51 PM, MarkGunnar wrote:

    Video below of what is happening in California at municipal wastewater treatment plants using fuel cell technology to produce 3 value streams of electricity, hydrogen and heat all from a human waste! This is pretty impressive in my opinion for hydro-refueling infrastructure.

    "New fuel cell sewage gas station in Orange County, CA may be world's first"

    "It is here today and it is deployable today," said Tom Mutchler of Air Products and Chemicals Inc., a sponsor and developer of the project.

    2.8MW fuel cell using biogas now operating; Largest PPA of its kind in North America

    Microsoft Backs Away From Grid

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2014, at 5:37 AM, winnipegriver wrote:


    I.m in stock market for over 40 years but stock as plug power is just

    other brex I hope you remember this gold mine which run from

    0.10 to 100 and again to 0.i like to see special batteries if this is thru

    than all tesla ,Nissan,honda etc are just hopless and why they don't buy

    plug power fantastic batteries,in any case good luck

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2014, at 8:32 AM, caliwoah wrote:

    PLUG has come a long way, i am excited to see what game changers the future brings. I was short but am now long PLUG.

    After this major automobile deal is released, there is no telling how high.

    After doing a few comparisons, this trend is starting to look very promising. There is a lot of fuel beneath this fire, it just needs some incentive to explode.

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Dan Caplinger

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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