If all you were looking at was the thin veneer of headline jobs numbers, then Friday's report was good news worthy of sending stocks soaring. So even though your stock might have strapped on a rocket pack and gone higher, resist the urge to high-five everyone in the cubicles next to you, particularly if you scratch the surface to see the labor report's deeper, darker meaning of more people opting out of the pool.
Smart investors won't celebrate until they know that upward leap in their stock was justified. Without a fundamental basis for the bounce, these stocks can quickly make the return trip down.
Is now the time to lock in profits, or is this just the first step toward even higher valuations down the road? Let's examine two stocks that just hit the afterburners, and see whether they're truly headed into orbit.
CAPS Rating (out of 5)
Source: Motley Fool CAPS.
The Dow jumped 158 points on Friday, or almost 1.2%, so stocks that went appreciably higher are pretty big deals.
When you're hot, you're hot
Alternative energy bounced back Friday, with various contributors to the supply chain reporting stronger-than-expected results. Carbon fiber manufacturer Zoltek had the wind at its back as wind-turbine customers boosted revenues 50% in the first quarter. Solar installations have been burning brightly for LDK Solar
Power-conversion and -management services provider Power-One got a jolt of energy too, as it beat analyst sales and profit expectations, and hopped on what may become the new trend of alt-energy providers: looking to emerging markets for succor. Of course, the U.S. is seen as a space to sell into, but Power-One believes India too will be a growth region for solar products.
As the mature markets of Italy, Germany, and Spain fade to the background, look to India, Thailand, Malaysia, Latin America, even Africa to pick up the mantle. For example, Thailand wants a quarter of its energy to come from renewable sources over the next decade, and the nation launched a generous feed-in tariff to support it, as did Malaysia. And there's always China to pick up any slack. It saw PV installations soar 500% in 2011, though its feed-in tariff was getting cut in half by year-end, so the race was on to get projects in under the wire.
Despite the company having lost more than half its value over the past year, 95% of the CAPS members rating Power-One still believe it will outperform the broad indexes. Add the power-management specialist to the Fool's free portfolio tracker and tell us on the Power-One CAPS page if you think it will renew its progress soon.
Solid as a rock
While there was no company-specific news driving solid-state drive maker OCZ Technology higher, rival Seagate Technology
Yet there seems something more fundamental at work for OCZ, something that suggests this is not a blip or brief spike, but just the beginning of a long-term trend. NAND memory prices are falling, and top NAND-flash memory developer Kingston Technology announced it will be initiating across-the-board price cuts, perhaps as much as 15%. That could cause other manufacturers to fall in line, reducing prices even further and helping to spur greater adoption of SSDs.
With the shortage of HDDs and the value proposition of SSDs increasing, the all-in wager OCZ made on solid-state drives by abandoning the DRAM market and then doubling down by buying the system-on-a-chip design team from PLX Technology puts it as the primary beneficiary of an uptake in SSDs. It also means all those short sellers that have been betting against OCZ are going to have the limb they climbed out on cut off.
My outperform rating on CAPS of OCZ has benefited from the trends pushing the industry towards SSDs, a movement I see only growing in strength, not lessening. But you can add the drive maker to your own Watchlist to keep abreast of developments, and then tell us on the OCZ Technology CAPS page whether you agree momentum is building.
Going into orbit
These three companies may have divergent futures despite their short term bounce, so check out for free two companies the Motley Fool thinks have a can't-fail future. Hurry though, because the free look is available for a limited time only.
Fool contributor Rich Duprey holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of First Solar and Power-One. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of First Solar. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.