Shares of natural gas fuel supplier Clean Energy Fuels Corp (NASDAQ:CLNE) jumped as much as 12% in trading Tuesday as oil prices continued to help push the stock higher. At 3:30 p.m. EDT shares were near their high for the day, trading 11.6% higher.
The ups and downs of crude oil trading can often drive Clean Energy Fuels' stock and that appears to be what's happening today. Midday, oil prices spiked on news that the Trump Administration would ban all oil imports from Iran by Nov. 4, 2018. WTI Crude Oil is trading 3.5% higher at $70.45 per barrel and Brent Crude is currently up 2.2% to $76.34 per barrel.
Since Clean Energy Fuels' natural gas products are a direct competitor to diesel, which comes from crude oil, when oil prices rise it makes natural gas more competitive. For today, investors are speculating that rising oil prices will eventually help the company's financials.
A lot is going to have to go right for Clean Energy Fuels to turn its business around, but higher oil prices could help. The chart below shows that not only has the company been losing money, revenue has been sliding over the last two years as prices have declined and volume has failed to pick up the slack.
While investors are speculating that a turnaround is imminent, I would like to see a bigger fundamental improvement in volume and net income before jumping into this stock. The history of making money selling natural gas isn't a good one and I'm worried there's too much enthusiasm in the market without enough fundamental performance improvement from the company to justify today's pop and the 144% increase in the stock over the last three months.