What happened

It's a busy day for fuel cell stocks Tuesday, with Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) shares powering 15% higher on news of a new 50-50 joint venture to put Plug fuel cells in Renault commercial vans in Europe.

Plug's announcement pulled the whole sector higher in early trading, but as the day wears on we're seeing a bit of a shakeout, with FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL) still hanging on to an impressive 13.7% gain and Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ:BLDP) up 18% as of 11:40 a.m. EST. In contrast, Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE) stock is fading fast, dropping below a 2% gain around 11 a.m. and currently up just a fraction of a percent from yesterday's close.

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Image source: Getty Images.

So what

What accounts for the different directions of these stocks? Plug shares are clearly benefiting from claims that its new JV with Renault will dominate 30% of the European market for fuel-cell-powered light commercial vehicles, and its promise to have a "pilot fleet" of fuel cell vans on European roads before the year is out.

Ballard Power, meanwhile, had news of its own this morning. U.K.-based fuel cell company Arcola Energy is buying Ballard "FCmove-HD fuel cell modules" to power a demonstration version of "Scotland's first hydrogen-powered train" that will be exhibited in Glasgow in November 2021, says the company.

FuelCell Energy, meanwhile, appears to be simply coming along for the ride. Having no new news of its own to report, however, doesn't seem to be slowing the stock down. The simple growth in enthusiasm over the prospects for hydrogen fuel cell companies in general seems to be more than enough to keep its momentum going.

Now what

But what about Bloom Energy, which seems to be the odd man out in all this enthusiasm?

Bloom's sudden weakness, after enjoying a near-7% surge in early trading, is explained by a downgrade reported this morning by TheFly.com. Specifically, Morgan Stanley today cut its rating on Bloom stock from overweight to equal weight. It did raise its price target on Bloom stock a bit -- but only by $2, to $34 a share -- and that's actually a few cents less than what Bloom Energy stock costs today.

Despite the analyst's praise for the company's growth potential and the "unique barriers to entry" it sees for potential competitors, reports TheFly.com, Bloom's 265% run-up in stock price over the past year adequately captures how much the stock is probably worth -- and Morgan Stanley thinks there's little room left for Bloom stock to run.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.