But there’s another stock that’s performing better than the electric car maker.
Richard Branson’s space-tourism company Virgin Galactic Holdings (NYSE: SPCE) has skyrocketed 222.6% so far this year, topping even the momentum behind Tesla.
“I’m calling it Tesla Junior because it’s showing all the signs of becoming a cult stock on the long and on the short side,” said Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director at financial analytics firm S3 Partners.
The stock rose as much as 15% Wednesday as volume has been pushing higher for the past week.
At the beginning of last week, Virgin Galactic’s average trading day saw 12 million shares change hands. By last Friday, that trading volume jumped to 45.6 million, and then rose to 104.1 million shares by this past Tuesday.
Market Rebellion co-founder Jon Najarian put it best when he told CNBC, “That’s bats—- crazy volume!”
Najarian added that he first began trading Virgin Galactic in December when there were about 12,500 call options on the stock per day. That spiked to 38,000 calls per day in January, and then to 175,000 calls per day last week.
However, one Virgin Galactic bull sounded a note of caution Thursday, saying the stock could take a hit when it reports earnings early next week.
“Even spaceships must return to Earth,” wrote Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas in a note. “Enthusiasm around the emerging space economy has triggered a pace and volume and volatility around [Virgin Galactic stock] that has take the MS Space Tea by surprise. A modest correction is overdue, and frankly healthy.”
Jonas has an Overweight rating on Virgin Galactic with a price target of $22, or roughly -41% below where the stock is currently.
One other speculative stock that has been surging higher lately is hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG).
Plug Power shares have gained 209.5% over the last year, and are up 23% just this week alone. And much like Virgin Galactic, the stock is seeing a rapid rise in volume.
While there’s been little to drive the stock higher recently, Thursday morning Plug Power shares hit their highest intraday price since August 2014 after the company announced a partnership to build zero-emission commercial trucks with Lightning Systems.
But on Wednesday, fintech company SoFi said the stock was on track for its most-transacted day in history, while Fidelity said Plug Power was its 23rd most bought stock among retail investors that day, which is especially notable given the company’s $1.48 billion market cap.
Najarian noted that he’s seeing an upswing in call activity for Plug Power.
“The volume has certainly exploded since December, when the daily call activity was 7900 calls per day,” Najarian said. “Last month, that average turnover went up to 17,350 per day.”
Still, B. Riley FBR analyst Christopher Van Horn reiterated his Buy rating on the stock this week, and issued a boosted price target for the stock.
“Adoption of Plug’s products continues to ramp more quickly than we thought,” Van Horn wrote in a note to clients. “Based on recent award activity and market commentary, we continue to believe the stock and the fuel cell technology seem to be at an inflection point, and we recently raised our price target to $6 to reflect this.”