Fuel Cell Providers Advance After Natural Disasters, Insider Buys And Upgrades

Shares of companies in fuel cell power space including Ballard (BLDP), Plug Power (PLUG), FuelCell Hydrogenics (FCEL), and Hydrogenics (HYGS) are all trading higher on Thursday after a confluence of recent natural disasters.

BACKUP POWER: "Fuel cells can be used as backup power for a number of organizations during natural disasters including warehouse, critical communications centers, water supply systems, and healthcare and hospital facilities," said the Department of Energy. A spate of recent hurricanes has left a path of destruction, critically damaging infrastructure in many parts of the United States as well as the Caribbean. Currently, Maria, a Category 5 storm with sustained winds of 175 mph, is now pounding Puerto Rico. A magnitude 7.1 earthquake that hit Mexico Tuesday has left hundreds dead and damage to critical buildings and hospitals.

FUEL CELLS: According to an industry trade group, fuel cells are electrical generation devices that utilize a chemical reaction to unleash a fuel's latent energy. They are clean, quiet, efficient, and scalable, allowing them versatility in nearly every power application. Just last week, the U.S. Energy Department said, "The business case for fuel cells is growing. With the industry rapidly emerging as a multibillion-dollar market opportunity, the United States is taking a leadership role in technology development, manufacturing, and economic impact. A main reason for this success is the increasing investment by the private sector and business community." Markets for fuel cell technology include transportation, material handling, defense and most notably critical infrastructure.

ANALYST LIKES BALLARD: After attending fuel cell provider Ballard Power Systems' investor day in New York last Thursday, FBR analyst Carter Driscoll raised his price target for Ballard to $6.00 from $3.50, saying the company's analyst day highlighted its "robust" China mobility opportunity. Ballard is the early stages of capitalizing on the use of fuel cells for vehicle electrification, and deserves to trade at a premium to peers given its technology leadership, local presence and partnerships in China and improving financial position, Driscoll tells investors in a research note partially titled "A Vastly Different Company than Two Years Ago." The analyst reiterated a Buy rating on Ballard.

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