What: Shares of fuel-cell company Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:BLDP) have jumped 11% as of 3:30 p.m. EDT on Monday, as investors speculate about the fuel-cell industry's future growth.
So what: The U.S. Department of Energy and Hyundai extended their fuel-cell vehicle confirmation program from its initial tenure of 2013 through 2015 to a second phase from 2016 through 2017. This will make use of new hydrogen refueling stations in the Washington, D.C. area; the initial phase focused on Southern California.
This adds to $13 million in fuel-cell and hydrogen storage funding from the DOE earlier this month for advancing fuel-cell technology. The hope is to make it more feasible to build fuel cells for transportation purposes.
Now what: While the DOE announcements aren't a direct help to Ballard Power Systems, they can add to speculation in the industry. It's often the view that any good news in hydrogen or fuel cells is good for everyone, even though that's not really the case.
Ballard Power Systems is a highly volatile stock, and even a small news event can send shares sharply higher or lower any given day. I think this is one of those days, and investors should pay more attention to the revenue and income trends for Ballard long-term. Early 2016 results show revenue rising sharply -- 76% in the first quarter -- but losses continue. If the bottom line doesn't improve, the company will continue diluting shareholders to fund its business. And until the losses and dilution stop, this is a stock I won't bet on in the fuel-cell business.