The holiday shopping season is officially upon us, but one thing not appearing on investors' buy lists today is the stock of fuel cell leader, Plug Power (PLUG 0.40%). Extending the slide which has seen shares tumble since Thanksgiving, shares of Plug Power plummeted 7.9% today.
Investors' belief that Plug Power is poised for explosive growth as the hydrogen economy takes shape over the coming years has driven the stock to meteoric heights over the past two years. However, the inverse of that belief seems to be driving the stock lower today: Investors are concerned that the appearance of the COVID-19 Omicron variant on American soil could be a harbinger of slower growth.
Late in the trading session today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the first case of the Omicron variant has been identified in the United States. According to the press release from the CDC, the case was detected in an individual who had returned from South Africa on November 22, 2021. This is hardly the first day that fuel cell investors have focused on the Omicron variant; last Friday, Plug Power's stock dipped lower as news of the Omicron variant's detection in South Africa became public.
Plug Power investors are acutely attuned to the developing story as they fear that the Omicron variant could lead to lockdowns or other government measures that hamper the company's ability to continue developing green hydrogen production facilities in the U.S. or other countries, among other aspects of the company's growth initiatives, thereby threatening the company's ability to achieve its 2025 revenue target of $3 billion.
In light of the fact that shares of Plug Power have soared nearly 2,600% over the past five years -- a time during which the company failed to generate a profit or positive cash flow -- the stock's sell-off today seems reasonable. Investors who foresee hydrogen emerging as an important component of the energy landscape in the coming years, however, should stay the course and shrug off the stock's decline today.