Why Tesla Motors, Acceleron Pharma, and Ballard Power Systems Jumped Today

The Dow finished just below its all-time highs, but the market's overall gains were small compared to these three stocks. Find out more about what made them soar.

Dan Caplinger
Dan Caplinger
Apr 2, 2014 at 8:00PM

Investors always keep an eye on employment-related numbers during the first week of the month, and today's news from the private sector pointed to healthy job creation that raised hopes of a spring thaw for the U.S. economy. The S&P 500 climbed to another record even as the Dow fell just short with a 40-point gain, but gains for Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), Acceleron Pharma (NASDAQ:XLRN), and Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ:BLDP) were much more substantial than the broader market's rise Wednesday.

Tesla rose 6% on news that it has appealed amendments to regulations from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission that would prevent it from selling vehicles directly to customers within the state rather than going through established dealers with franchise agreements. With at least one measure proposed by a state lawmaker that would allow Tesla to use its direct-sales model in New Jersey, it's clear that the stakes are high for both the New Jersey state government and for Tesla. Although the state doesn't want to alienate its dealership constituency, the prospect of slamming the door on the popular high-growth electric-car company doesn't make for smart politics either. Today's stock gain suggests that investors think the issue will get a favorable resolution in the long run.

Acceleron Pharma climbed 13% after an SEC filing revealed that biotech giant Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) has agreed to spend $47 million to buy 1.1 million shares of Acceleron stock from five pre-IPO investors in the company, including Britain's Alkermes (NASDAQ:ALKS). Celgene already owns a substantial stake in Acceleron, but after the purchase, its position is expected to rise to nearly 15%. Much of Acceleron's future depends on its partnership with Celgene, which includes splitting development costs of candidate drugs sotatercept and ACE-536. With studies still ongoing, it's too early to tell whether Acceleron will prove to be a good investment for Celgene and other shareholders.

Ballard Power Systems gained 8% as the fuel-cell maker said that buses using Ballard's fuel-cell modules were delivered to Aberdeen, Scotland as part of the city's hydrogen bus project. The buses were manufactured by Van Hool, a leading bus-maker in Europe, and Ballard expects the buses to go into use next month. Ballard's presence in Europe is still relatively small, with about 40 buses expected to have Ballard fuel cells in 2014. But investors hope that economies of scale will make Ballard's systems more competitive and drive future demand.