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Stock Market News: Enphase Powers Up; Virgin Galactic Launches Higher

By Dan Caplinger – Feb 19, 2020 at 10:41AM

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The stock market rebounded Wednesday morning, and these stocks led the way.

Wall Street saw a modest rebound on Wednesday morning, as market participants got somewhat more comfortable with the potential impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the global economy. Investors have been engaged in a tug of war between bullish and bearish camps about what the illness could do to business activity both in hard-hit areas like China and elsewhere across the globe.

As of 11 a.m. EST today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -1.62%) was up 80 points to 29,312. The S&P 500 (^GSPC -1.72%) rose 15 points to 3,385, and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -1.80%) picked up 71 points to 9,804.

Even as the broader market has been turbulent, some favored high-momentum stocks have stayed largely positive for quite a while now. Enphase Energy (ENPH -1.46%) has been a big winner lately, and it got good news from a favorable earnings report. Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE -2.01%) continued its stratospheric ascent, and few seem willing to put any ceiling on just how high the stock could go in the long run.

Enphase's day in the sun

Shares of Enphase Energy soared more than 30% after the company reported its fourth-quarter financial results. The maker of solar power microinverters and related equipment got a big bottom-line boost, and ongoing demand for solar power systems seems to bode well for the company.

Installer putting in solar power system near grain silo.

Image source: Enphase Energy.

Enphase's numbers showed just how powerful the company's growth has been. Revenue for the fourth quarter more than doubled from year-ago levels, and net income soared more than tenfold year over year. Even after taking into account stock dilution and extraordinary items, full-year adjusted earnings rose from $0.10 per share in 2018 to $0.95 per share in 2019.

Enphase is working hard to expand into adjacent markets beyond its core microinverter offerings. Having primarily concentrated on residential solar projects, the company has more recently looked at commercial solar, off-grid applications, and residential energy storage products as potential areas for growth. As solar power gets cheaper and more desirable as a form of renewable energy, Enphase is trying to put itself in position to benefit in as many ways as possible.

Some naysayers believe that Enphase shares have risen too far too fast, with the stock up almost 600% in just a single year. Yet if the company can keep delivering results like these, then it could grow into its hefty valuation.

Virgin territory for Virgin Galactic stock

Shares of Virgin Galactic Holdings jumped another 12% on Wednesday, aiming to extend their current run of six record closes. The newly public space tourism company has attracted a huge amount of attention from the investing community despite not having a lot of news to announce.

Recently, the rises in Virgin Galactic have come as investors look at one another to see what moves they're making in the stock. The mid-February disclosure of investment positions among institutional investors subject to Securities and Exchange Commission rules has included a number of well-known institutions showing interest in Virgin Galactic. For instance, Park West Asset Management disclosed a 2.1% stake in Virgin Galactic, showing the drawing power that Sir Richard Branson's latest operation has.

Operationally, Virgin Galactic is continuing to work toward commercial flights, having moved its Unity spaceplane to the Spaceport America site in New Mexico. If the remainder of the company's schedule of test flights goes well, then Virgin Galactic could remain on track to bring tourists to space later this year.

We should know more about Virgin Galactic's immediate future when it releases its quarterly report next week. Until then, though, much of the wild stock price movements will be pure speculation about the long-term future of the business.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Enphase Energy, Inc. Stock Quote
Enphase Energy, Inc.
ENPH
$279.49 (-1.46%) $-4.14
Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. Stock Quote
Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc.
SPCE
$4.87 (-2.01%) $0.10
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$29,590.41 (-1.62%) $-486.27
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$3,693.23 (-1.72%) $-64.76
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
^IXIC
$10,867.93 (-1.80%) $-198.88

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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