Some of this year's top penny stocks have come out of the little-known or followed fuel cell industry.
The sector garnered a great deal of attention in 2014's first quarter, thanks to lucrative contracts inked by Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq: PLUG).
Here's a brief refresher.
The Latham, N.Y.-based company's shares spiked 68% to a 52-week high of $4.90 in January after securing a deal with FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) to develop hydrogen fuel cell extenders for 20 FedEx trucks. Shares were up a stratospheric 334.19% year over year by March, fueled by a sizable contract signed in late February with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT).
After rising as high as $11.20, PLUG shares fizzled as the stock took a breather and investors moved on to the next hot stock.
But by late April, PLUG stock was climbing again.
In a move aimed at accelerating its aggressive international growth strategy, PLUG announced on April 21 it had entered into a five-year agreement with Hyundai Hysco Co. Ltd. Under the joint venture partnership, PLUG will develop and sell hydrogen fuel cells in countries throughout Asia using Hysco's advanced stack and plate technology.
"This highly anticipated joint venture with Hysco will enable Plug Power to broaden its reach into the Asian market, putting us well on our way toward global market expansion," said Andy Marsh, chief executive officer (CEO) of Plug Power. "The positive impact on our bottom line from fuel cell sales in the region in 2015 and beyond will play a significant role in our achievement of profitability."
PLUG shares were mostly quiet over the month or so until they were back in the news this week.
PLUG Regains Top Penny Stock Status
PLUG shares surged 19% on Wednesday. Some 57.39 million shares changed hands, compared to the stock's average daily volume of 16.26 million. Option activity was also brisk, with traders purchasing a whopping 55,617 bullish calls on Wednesday, compared to the typical daily volume of 8,790 calls.
Driving shares was an announcement from PLUG that retail giants Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) and Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE: FDO) have expressed interest in replacing their lead-acid battery-powered forklifts with hydrogen fuel cells.
And another one of the sector's top penny stocks got a boost this week, too…