What happened

Relentless selling of unprofitable tech stocks on the Nasdaq finally gave way to a bout of bottom fishing Friday, relieving the pressure on hard-hit renewable energy stocks such as Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG), Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE), and Enphase Energy (NASDAQ:ENPH).

As of 1 p.m. EDT, Enphase shares are up a respectable 2%, Plug stock is even better with a 2.8% gain, and Bloom is bouncing back 5%.

Arrow angles up on a green stock chart

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Macroeconomic news is contributing to the Nasdaq's rally, and giving the "new energy" tech stocks a bit of breathing room. On the one hand, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has walked back her comments early in the week, that had appeared to predict rising interest rates that could stifle economic growth and curb the appeal of tech stocks. The Secretary's new position is that, firstly, "I don't think there's going to be an inflationary problem," and secondly, even "if there is, the Fed can be counted on to address it."  

So all clear on that front.

At the same time, tech investors seem to be taking some comfort from remarks by President Biden to the effect that he might be willing to accept an increase in the corporate tax rate to just 25% -- rather than the 28% rate that he had been advocating, or the 35% rate that was in effect during the Obama Administration -- to pay for his infrastructure program. Because higher corporate taxes reduce corporate earnings, and corporate earnings are a key factor in determining a stock's valuation, investors are taking this sign of a willingness to compromise on tax rates as good news for stocks.  

Now what

These macroeconomic developments were what first helped to stop the bleeding on the Nasdaq. They also may be giving investors a chance to finally hear, through the macroeconomic noise, some of the more positive developments among the green energy stocks this week.

On Wednesday, Bloom Energy reported earnings that contained a few positive notes -- guidance for fiscal 2021 sales of $950 million to $1 billion, which came close to analyst expectations, for example, and a prediction that the company is "approaching positive" generation of cash from operations. Then Bloom followed that up with an announcement that it will collaborate with Baker Hughes to integrate their respective fuel cell and gas turbine technologies.  

And earlier in the week, in the course of commenting on future prospects for SolarEdge (an Enphase rival), TheFly.com cited analysts at Northland Securities noting that Enphase is experiencing tight inventories right now. On the one hand, that's bad news for Enphase (because you cannot sell what you do not have in inventory). But on the other hand, it's indicative of strong demand for Enphase's power inverter products -- which is kind of good news after all.

In any case, in the context of a broader revival of investor optimism for tech stocks generally, these glimmers of hope for the renewable energy stocks are now getting a chance to be noticed -- and it's having a beneficial effect on their stock prices today.

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.