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Facebook Sends Nasdaq to New Record; Plug Power Looks to Tap Into EV Craze

By Dan Caplinger – Updated Aug 6, 2020 at 4:58PM

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Stock markets just kept going up Thursday.

All-time records have become par for the course for the Nasdaq Composite, and Thursday was no exception. After starting off the day on a neutral footing, the tech-heavy index gained ground throughout the day. By the close, both the Composite and the Nasdaq-100 Index were up 1% or more.

Facebook (META -2.36%) is among the most valuable stocks that trade on the Nasdaq, and a big gain today helped set the tone for the entire market. Among smaller stocks, Plug Power (PLUG -5.15%) has spent years trying to live up to its full potential, and shareholders now believe that applications for commercial electric vehicles might finally be what the fuel cell company needs in order to move forward.

Facebook fights back

Shares of Facebook were higher by nearly 7% on Thursday. The social media giant has come under fire on multiple fronts, but it did several things to respond to those criticisms.

Strategically, Facebook has identified the threat that Chinese company ByteDance and its TikTok short-video app pose, and it's answering with a new feature for its Instagram platform. Reels will aim to present short videos to Instagram's audience of roughly 1 billion users, rewarding popularity with a higher profile when people are looking for content to watch. Facebook hopes to integrate other features to give Reels a competitive edge over TikTok.

Facebook also took controversial action on the content moderation front, removing video of an interview of President Trump suggesting that children had immunity from COVID-19. Lawmakers have called out Facebook and other social media companies for failing to oversee false or misleading information from posts on their platforms, so this move seems like it's responding to those concerns.

Many have thought that Facebook's stock has risen too quickly, especially given some of the challenges it's facing right now. However, the social media giant is still faring quite well. That bodes well for long-term shareholders who see promise in Facebook's strategic approach to maintain its dominance of social media.

Electrical outlet with one cord plugged in.

Image source: Getty Images.

Plugging into big gains

Elsewhere, shares of Plug Power soared 15%. The fuel cell specialist announced second-quarter earnings results, and investors liked the company's ideas about what the future could bring.

Plug's numbers were solid. Overall revenue climbed 18% on a 23% gain in sales of fuel cell systems and related infrastructure. Although the company still lost money, the size of those losses shrank by more than half from year-earlier levels. Moreover, Plug fared better during the middle of the pandemic than many investors had expected.

Plug's strategy centers on becoming the industry leader in hydrogen, and it sees plenty of applications for the clean-burning fuel. In particular, several makers of electric vehicles are looking at fuel cell technology using hydrogen as a way of powering their engines. Given how much attention the EV industry has gotten recently, trying to tap into that market is a smart move for Plug.

Long-time investors know all too well that Plug Power's history is full of efforts that didn't pan out as well as hoped. Nevertheless, Plug is still optimistic that it can finally find a solution that will build long-term momentum for the player in engine technology and renewable energy.

Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool recommends Nasdaq. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Meta Platforms, Inc. Stock Quote
Meta Platforms, Inc.
$108.78 (-2.36%) $-2.63
Plug Power Stock Quote
Plug Power
$14.92 (-5.15%) $0.81

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