Stocks are soaring again in Monday trading, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbing the better part of a full percentage point as of 11:20 a.m. EST. And we have a new coronavirus vaccine to thank for it.
Last Monday, news that Pfizer and BioNTech have a coronavirus vaccine candidate with 90% proven effectiveness unleashed a tidal wave of enthusiasm on the markets. Investors bet on an early end to the pandemic, driving share prices higher. Today, it's "second verse, same as the first," as Moderna (MRNA -1.59%) announces that its mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine is 94.5% effective at preventing infection with the novel coronavirus.
This good news is having a salutary effect:
- Bloom Energy (BE -1.38%) is up 2.2%.
- Plug Power (PLUG -3.56%) is rising 5%.
- FuelCell Energy (FCEL -4.33%) is up 13%.
Why is this good news for hydrogen fuel cell companies like Bloom, Plug, and FuelCell Energy? Well, if the pandemic truly is at an end (or even if we're at least finally seeing a beginning of the end), that's probably good for most businesses, which will be able to start thinking about getting back to business as usual, and stop spending so much of their time just figuring out how to survive the recession. But fuel cell companies in particular are benefiting from a corollary to the good vaccine news today.
If the economy gets back to normal, you see, normal consumption patterns of things such as energy can also be expected. Demand for energy -- for oil in particular -- will rise. And in anticipation of this happening, we're seeing the prices of both WTI crude oil and Brent crude as well jump more than 3% apiece in Monday trading.
Hydrogen, when run through a fuel cell to generate electricity (with only water as the byproduct), is considered an alternative to oil. And the more expensive oil is, the more attractive alternative fuel sources like hydrogen will look in comparison. Thus, whenever the price of oil rises (today for example), that can be seen as a good thing for hydrogen fuel cell companies like Bloom, Plug, and FuelCell Energy.
In the absence of any other news specific to these companies to explain why they're rising today, it's the rising price of oil, and the vaccine news that sparked it, that I believe are supporting fuel cell stocks today.