What: Shares of Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ:CLNE) were up 11.4% for the day at 3:50 p.m. ET on June 28:
So what: There's no news today about Clean Energy. No rumors. No SEC filings. Just a case of Mr. Market getting his groove on and pushing up the company's shares on what is a good day for most U.S. stocks.
Oil prices are also up, with both West Texas Intermediate and Brent futures up around 3% today. If there's any one specific thing that's helping push Clean Energy's stock higher than the rest of the market today, that's probably it.
Now what: Higher oil prices are good for Clean Energy, since it helps support natural gas as a cheaper alternative. And since the company's core business is selling natural gas for transportation, higher oil prices are favorable over the long term. But a one-day spike isn't material, or necessarily sustainable.
The reality is, there isn't anything material to talk about or to act on, and even after today's big jump, the company's shares are still well down over the past several years.
What is material, however, is the company's steady improvement in its business operations. Costs continue to fall, cash flows continue to strengthen, and the company has begun paying down its debt. Steady profitability looks to be just around the corner, particularly if the recent trends continue to hold true, and days like today -- both up and down -- are going to continue to happen. If the business continues to strengthen as it has, that should lead to more of these good days.
Bottom line: Buying or selling solely based on today's price momentum would be letting the tail wag the dog. It's probably best to buy and sell based on the state of the business and your level of comfort with the relative risk of investing in a business that's not yet consistently profitable.
Jason Hall owns shares of Clean Energy Fuels. Jason Hall has the following options: long January 2017 $5 calls on Clean Energy Fuels, short January 2017 $5 puts on Clean Energy Fuels, and long January 2017 $3 calls on Clean Energy Fuels. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Clean Energy Fuels. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.