The 1 Reason I'm Not Ready to Invest in Plug Power Inc or FuelCell Energy Inc

PLUG Shares Outstanding Chart

PLUG Shares Outstanding data by YCharts .

Even in a shorter time period -- the past five years -- investors have lost out while giving FuelCell and Plug Power lots more money:

PLUG Shares Outstanding data by YCharts .

In other words, so far, they've only proven adept at taking more shareholder money to stay in business, and destroying value for investors.

Long-term financial underperformance

To be clear, it's not just about the stock performance. The reality is, a stock can perform poorly over time even as a business improves. But so far, neither Plug Power nor FuelCell Energy has demonstrated the ability to generate positive financial returns:

PLUG Net Income (Annual) data by YCharts .

And that's why I'm staying away -- for now

As I wrote in the opening paragraph, it's likely that fuel cell technology will be an important part of the energy mix in the future. And I'm actually optimistic that these two companies will be a part of the solution to powering the world more cleanly.

But there's a long way to go, and before I'd invest in either of these two companies, I want to see financial performance that earns my investing dollars. That means evidence that they can sustain themselves on their own cash flows. So far, the only thing these two companies have proven is they can destroy value for investors.

And as much promise as the technology has, I'll sit on the sidelines until Plug Power and FuelCell Energy demonstrate they can actually make money.

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Jason Hall has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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