Investing

Earnings Previews: Clean Energy, Fisker, Plug Power, Virgin Galactic

Earnings reports released Wednesday morning were again overwhelmingly positive, with the vast majority of companies reporting profits that beat consensus estimates. An Australian bank noted Tuesday that nearly 90% of S&P 500 companies have reported positive June-quarter earnings surprises so far.

After markets close on Wednesday, five firms we covered in an earlier preview (Electronic Arts, Fastly, Lumen, MGM Resorts and Uber) are due to report results. Before markets open on Thursday, results will be released by Hecla Mining, Moderna and ViacomCBS.

Here are previews of four companies set to report quarterly results after Thursday’s closing bell.

Clean Energy

One year ago, shares of Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) traded at around $2.40. Tuesday, the stock closed at $7.37, a growth rate of more than 200%. Still, that is less than half the February high of nearly $20. Clean Energy, a supplier of natural gas fuels, was among the meme stocks that forced a short squeeze in late January. Since then, short interest dwindled to around 2.5 million shares before rising to nearly 17 million shorted shares in late June. Recent trading in the shares has been only about one-third of the daily average of 16.2 million.

The stock is lightly covered, with just seven surveyed brokerages providing coverage. Four rate the stock a Buy or Strong Buy, with one Hold rating. At a recent price of around $7.40 and based on a median price target of $16, the stock’s upside potential is 116%. At the high price target of $27, the upside potential soars to 265%.

Second-quarter revenue is forecast to total $75.1 million, down about 2.6% sequentially and up more than 25% year over year. Analysts are forecasting a break-even quarter, better than the one-cent loss in the first quarter and a two-cent loss last year. For the full fiscal year, the current forecast calls for adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.02, compared to a loss per share of $0.04 a year ago. Revenue is expected to increase by 3.3% to $301.32 million.

Clean Energy trades at 316.1 times expected 2021 EPS, 245.8 times estimated 2022 earnings and 81.9 times estimated 2023 earnings. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $2.36 to $19.79. Clean Energy does not pay a dividend.

Fisker

Luxury electric vehicle maker Fisker Inc. (NYSE: FSR) came public through a SPAC merger in October of last year. Since then, the stock is up more than 45%, but way down from a late February peak gain of around 180%. Even including that spike, the year-to-date gain is barely 1%. What is holding Fisker back are concerns about its time to market. The first vehicles are not expected to be in production until late next year.

Of 10 brokerages covering the firm, six rate the stock a Buy or Strong Buy and three rate the shares at Hold. At a price of around $14.80, the stock’s potential upside based on a median price target of $24 is 62%. At the high target of $40, the upside potential is 170%.