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Markets Rise, But 1 Stock Is Standing Out After-Hours Tuesday

By Dan Caplinger – Oct 5, 2021 at 6:08PM

Key Points

  • Markets rebounded nicely on Tuesday.
  • Palantir Technologies jumped after news of a new contract.
  • Palantir will need to keep finding new customers on both the government and corporate sides of its business.

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A much-needed bounce gave investors some confidence.

Wall Street has been on edge for quite a while, with the stock market getting off to a volatile start to the month after a substantial decline in September. Investors are looking critically at the situation in Washington, which currently has lawmakers in a standoff as the breach of the debt ceiling and the fate of the infrastructure bill both loom large. Yet stocks managed to bounce Tuesday even with those worries and a rise in bond yields. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -0.98%), S&P 500 (^GSPC -0.40%), and Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -0.26%) were all up in the neighborhood of 1%.

Index

Daily Percentage Change

Daily Point Change

Dow

+0.92%

+312

S&P 500

+1.05%

+45

Nasdaq

+1.25%

+178

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Many high-growth stocks in the technology space have taken larger hits than the broader stock market lately. That's partially because of the massive run-up in their share prices over the past 18 months, as investors try to figure out whether the growth in their businesses is sustainable and warrants the valuations in the stocks.

Yet when good news comes out on the fundamental business front, it justifies substantial increases. That's what's happening to cloud data analytics  company Palantir Technologies (PLTR 3.87%) on Tuesday afternoon, as the stock jumped following the closing bell of the regular trading session after a promising announcement for the company.

Palantir wins a contract

Shares of Palantir were little changed during regular trading on Tuesday, but the stock climbed 9% after the close. The move came after news that the company had gotten selected for a promising government contract.

Palantir said that the U.S. Army's program manager for intelligence systems and analytics had selected  the company for the Army's Capability Drop 2 (CD-2) program. Under the terms of the selection, Palantir will deliver the Army's intelligence data fabric and analytics foundation.

Two people wearing fatigues holding a laptop.

Image source: Getty Images.

The selection qualifies Palantir to progress to the next phase of the competitive $823 million contract, which vaguely states indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity in terms of deliverables. The company said it will first work with the Army through iterative testing and debugging, and then will support the Army's efforts to go through final testing and deployment for use in the field.

Palantir's Gotham platform will be the critical element in supporting Army users across the globe. Army personnel will be able to use Gotham's data integration, correlation, fusion, and analytic capabilities to fight and defend against emerging threats. As the Army grows more familiar with Gotham, Palantir expects intelligence personnel to migrate legacy programs under the CD-2 umbrella. Eventually, CD-2 could form the foundation for further modernization across a wider range of operations.

A catalyst for growth?

Palantir's platform has extensive capabilities for allowing users to bring together data from multiple sources for unified analysis. Yet, despite the obvious benefits of the platform in an increasingly data-driven world, investors had started to worry that Palantir wasn't getting a lot of new government contracts. That largely kept its stock price in a holding pattern even as other cloud-related stocks soared.

The big question Palantir has to answer is whether it can attract corporate clients to its Foundry platform even as it works to obtain more government contracts using Gotham. The right balance of business could give Palantir a two-pronged advantage over more commercially focused rivals.

Palantir's Army contract is a step in the right direction. To break out to new highs, though, the company will have to demonstrate its ability to ramp up new business significantly to justify fairly rich valuation measures.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Palantir Technologies Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Palantir Technologies Inc. Stock Quote
Palantir Technologies Inc.
PLTR
$7.79 (3.87%) $0.29
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$34,251.85 (-0.98%) $-337.92
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$4,063.76 (-0.40%) $-16.35
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
^IXIC
$11,437.76 (-0.26%) $-30.24

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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