Rising in February, shares of Plug Power (PLUG 12.38%) remained on investors' buy lists last month. According to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, shares of the fuel cell specialist rose 13.1% in March.
While it wasn't packed with electric tidbits, the company's fourth-quarter 2021 earnings report, released on March 1, had enough positive details to supercharge the bulls' enthusiasm. In addition, the rise in oil prices had investors seeking renewable-energy opportunities.
Exceeding analysts' estimates in its final earnings report of 2021, Plug Power booked $162 million on the top line, whereas Wall Street had expected the company would report $157 million. But it wasn't only trumping analysts' estimates that delighted investors; the $162 million in revenue now stands as a high-water mark, representing a company record for quarterly revenue.
Turning its attention from the road it had just traveled to the road ahead, management provided an auspicious $900 million revenue guidance figure for 2022. According to Plug Power, the source of this robust growth will be the company's material handling equipment business, which is projected to account for $600 million in revenue for 2022.
Another catalyst for the stock's rise last month was the focus on alternative energy sources. With oil prices exceeding $100 per barrel, interest in renewable-energy stocks grew considerably. Plug Power has high aspirations to become a leader in the green hydrogen industry. Management has identified daily green hydrogen production targets of 500 tons by 2025 in the United States, rising to global production of 1,000 tons by 2028.
While Plug Power beat analysts' revenue expectations in the fourth quarter, it's important to recognize that the company also fell short of their earnings-per-share expectations (EPS) -- way short. Plug Power reported a loss per share of $0.33, while analysts were anticipating a loss of $0.11. For those who follow the company closely, this shouldn't come as a surprise. This heavyweight in the hydrogen industry excels at growing the top line, while failing to report similar growth at the bottom of the income statement.
Main Street may have been eager to pick up shares of Plug Power last month, but it's worth noting that Wall Street's opinion of the stock was less optimistic. Joseph Spak, an analyst at RBC Capital, slashed his price target on Plug Power's stock to $33 from $39 after the company reported Q4 2021 earnings, according to Thefly.com, and JPMorgan Chase cut its price target, lowering it to $38 from $42.