What happened

Stock markets are bouncing back Tuesday after Monday's small-scale sell-off, and the S&P 500 ended the day up more than 3%.

Today's biggest gainers are an eclectic bunch, with companies as widely varied as Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE) (fuel cells), GameStop (NYSE:GME) (video games and consoles), and Virgin Galactic Holdings (NYSE:SPCE) (space tours!) racking up gains of 23%, 25.5%, and 23%, respectively, at the close.

Three colorful arrows racing straight up on a black background

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

There are reports that GameStop stock has seen buying from famed Big Short investor Dr. Michael Burry, who's apparently taken about a 5.3% stake in the company. I can see how that big a vote of confidence from a high-profile investor might tend to attract interest, but there's no similar news about anyone taking big stakes in Bloom Energy or Virgin Galactic.

Nor is the broader macroeconomic news looking particularly encouraging today. The International Monetary Fund just gave our current recession a name (the Great Lockdown) and is forecasting that it will be the "worst recession since the Great Depression, surpassing that seen during the global financial crisis a decade ago."  

Now what

That certainly doesn't sound very encouraging. And again, it leaves me wondering just what is going on with these three stocks today.

My best guess: Earnings season is almost upon us, with Virgin Galactic due to report its latest batch of quarterly numbers in less than three weeks. GameStop and Bloom Energy should file their own reports less than a month later, probably in early June.  

With investors' focus beginning to turn away from the latest daily update on the coronavirus and toward corporate earnings, it's possible we are seeing bets being placed that one or more of these three companies (none of which is currently profitable on a trailing-12-months basis) will either report a surprise profit or perhaps guide investors on when to expect a turn to profitability.

I don't see a lot of sense in betting on a surprise (that no one is forecasting). But today, it appears I'm in the minority in that opinion. Hope springs eternal, and today it was springing higher for shares of Bloom Energy, GameStop, and Virgin Galactic.