What happened 

Shares of fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:BLDP) fell as much as 15.5% in trading Thursday after the company reported a fourth-quarter loss. Shares were still down 12.6% as of 3:05 p.m. EST. 

So what

Revenue jumped 31% versus a year ago to $40.3 million, and gross margin increased 100 basis points to 31% of sales, or $12.6 million. But the company still lot $2.9 million, or $0.01 per share on an adjusted basis. Analysts were expecting revenue of $34.4 million and a loss of a penny per share. 

H2 symbol made of leaves on a floor.

Image source: Getty Images.

What shocked investors today is that management said revenue would be "relatively flat in 2018," or around the $121.3 million generated in 2017. That's well below the $131.4 million analysts had estimated for the year, and investors are concerned the growth story has a few holes in it. 

Now what

Management went to great lengths to point out that uncertainty and timing were playing a role in the conservative outlook comments, so there's certainly upside for operations. What I think is more important than the murky guidance is that Ballard has $91.4 million in secured orders, and there is potential for more as California and China ramp up their demand. I actually saw fourth-quarter results as a positive for the company long-term and think this is the best-positioned fuel cell stock on the market

Travis Hoium has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.