Shares of Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) and Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE), the twin titans of the hydrogen revolution, popped higher this morning, both buoyed by positive analyst commentary out of Morgan Stanley. But by noon, only Bloom was holding on to more than a fraction of its gains, up 2.4%.
As TheFly.com reports, Morgan Stanley raised its price targets on both Plug and Bloom stock. Plug shares, which cost just under $32 currently, got a hike to $38 (about 20% upside), while the analyst raised its valuation on Bloom shares to $32 (about 19% more than they cost right now).
According to the analyst, a deep dive into the companies' potential shows that Plug's fuel-cell powered forklift products can deliver significant savings to customers using them to move goods around their warehouses. Similarly, the analyst sees significant advantages to Bloom's energy boxes "relative to mature incumbent products" that use hydrocarbons to generate power.
What's missing from both reports is any detail on how or when Morgan Stanley expects these advantages for Plug's and Bloom's customers to translate into sustainable, defensible profits. Neither company has ever generated a full-year profit for its shareholders. Nor does Morgan Stanley appear to have debunked The Wall Street Journal's report from earlier this month, in which the paper warned that Bloom stock is failing to successfully navigate "a rapidly changing [new energy] economy," or produce products that can successfully compete with cheaper electricity from wind and solar sources.
Until Bloom or Plug demonstrates that the Journal's analysis is wrong, and that fuel cell companies can deliver revenue growth and profits, I would counsel against investing in either of these companies.