Stock Market

Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ:CLNE) may seem like a busted meme stock. But there’s a lot more to CLNE stock than that. Traders active on social media weren’t wrong for being bullish on this renewable natural gas (RNG) purveyor earlier in 2021. They were just bullish for all the wrong reasons.

Source: ZikG /

The “green wave,” and all that entails, did drive its popularity during the first meme stock wave last winter. Yet its  short-lived strong performance during the second meme stock wave  only lasted in late May/early June due to its appeal as a short-squeeze play.

For now, it’s best to ignore a short-squeeze, or renewed mania for meme stocks as a catalyst for this beaten-down name. Instead, at around $9 per share, well below its 52-week high of nearly $20 per share, the company’s fundamentals are what matter most.

The good news is, continues to put in the work for big growth to lock down new and existing customers/partnerships. While a risky play, it has the potential to get back to its meme stock glory on its own merits ahead of a possible recovery.

CLNE Stock Doesn’t Need Meme Traders For a Comeback

It has picked up in price since I last wrote about it Aug. 24. Yet the speculative traders that spiked and sunk it earlier this year haven’t come back. So, what’s behind its slight rise in price over the past two months? Some small positive developments (more below). Plus, the perception that, despite delays, the infrastructure bill (that could benefit this sector) is still en-route to get passed and signed into law. It makes sense why they haven’t made their return.

Again, we have to see the meme stock phenomenon come back for a third wave. With short-squeeze plays still  in vogue,  and the short interest down to under 10% of outstanding float? , I would no longer consider CLNE stock to still be in that category. In short, don’t hold your breath that this segment of the market will dive back into this name with full force.

However, that fact doesn’t mean “the party’s over” for Clean Energy Fuels shares. There’s another way it can make a return toward its past 52-week high of nearly $20 per share. Admittedly, this isn’t going to be something that plays out in a blink of an eye. It’ll be a gradual process.

For patient investors, willing to ride out what may be lukewarm performance in the months ahead, getting in now may well be worth it, as more deals and demand for RNG steadily rises.

The Deals it’s Making Today Point to High Growth Tomorrow

Before diving into recent deals and CLNE stock, let me break down the specifics of this renewable energy play. Right now, this company provides both fossil fuel and renewable (derived from animal waste) natural gas. With the idea that over time, its compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) customers would switch fully over to renewable alternatives.

As seen in recent deals — for instance, one made with a fuel company in the shipping industry — this strategy is still working.  By providing “old school” LNG today and renewable LNG tomorrow, these individual deals may not result in a big spike for CLNE stock by themselves.

But working like a snowball, the supply contract signed today point to much stronger numbers in the years ahead. As this continues, and investors realize this is a bona fide growth story, and not just some flash in the pan meme stock, it stands a strong chance of its price movements staying in the right direction.

Along with the catalyst it has with the move to RNG, it may be expanding into another “green” energy source. As the company announced earlier this month, it has been awarded a contract with one of its longtime customers (Foothill Transit, a public bus service in Southern California), to build it a hydrogen station, as well as supply it with liquid hydrogen fuel. For now, this is just another small deal ($13 million) it can put into its cap in the years down the road. This major RNG provider could become a major liquefied hydrogen provider as well.

The Verdict on CLNE Stock

I won’t downplay the risks inherent with Clean Energy Fuels. It still needs to demonstrate to investors that it’s going to be one of the winners from America’s green transformation. Without that, barring another wave of “meme stock madness,” shares aren’t going to experience another liftoff in price.

But coming in with a “B” rating in Portfolio Grader, and with its continual inking of deals underscoring its big potential, keep an eye on CLNE stock.

On the date of publication, neither Louis Navellier nor the InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article held (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.

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