Earlier today, we saw a huge surge in the share price of fuel cell-related companies, Plug Power most prominent among them, on an apparent run-up in revenues in the long-suffering space.

But just before 1 p.m., the rally collapsed in the blink of an eye. Plug Power closed down 41%.

One reason for the sell-off could be a report issued by Citron Research, an influential online stock commentary website.

In an unsigned note, the firm called PLUG a "casino stock" and suggested it would return to its one-time trading price of $0.50. They write:

A casino stock... is the lowest form of speculative moonshot. A casino stock can trade twice its outstanding shares in a single day, while turning over its entire float on people gambling that they can find a buyer at a higher price … Who really cares about anything else, right? The recent volume and share price surge in Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) demonstrates how Wall Street treats this stock: nothing more than a casino.

 Among the problems Citron says its found:

The company has consistently fallen short of its own quarterly forecasts. There's an apparent lack of conviction among Plug's own management, who at one point refused to buy in on a capital round of just $0.15 a share. Just one analyst covers the firm — and that same analyst is part of a company, Cowen and Co., that just issued an offering. Plug Power owns practically none of their own technology, buying the actual fuel cells themselves from Ballard, which Citron endorses as a better way to enter the fuel cell space.  Their principal customers have merely been taking advantage of an alternative fuels tax credit that expires in 2016. 

Citron concludes: "this business shows no signs of improvement, only the looming end of government subsidies. Does anyone ever really end up a winner at a casino???"

Plug Power was down 4% in after-hours trading, while Ballard was off 1%.

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SEE ALSO: What Fuel Cells Have Going For Them