Palantir Technologies (NYSE:PLTR) is a company which not everyone understands, including some folks who trade PLTR stock. We could label the company as a Big Data analytics firm, but that doesn’t tell the full story.
It seems that Palantir may have been targeted by some folks in the Reddit short squeeze crowd. As a result, there’s been a de-emphasis on what the company actually does.
That’s a shame, I feel, since I believe in the old saying, “Know what you own.” Short squeeze potential is a relevant factor for traders, but it shouldn’t become an obsession.
And yes, it’s true that Palantir has provided counter-terrorism-focused intelligence to U.S. government agencies. But upon closer inspection, you might be surprised to discover how diversified Palantir’s business really is.
A Closer Look at PLTR Stock
PLTR has a brief but action-packed history. Going back to the beginning, the stock started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 30, 2020, via a direct listing.
The bulls were off to an auspicious start as they ran the Palantir share price all the way up to $27 in November. For the remainder of 2020, though, the stock just went sideways.
Things got hectic again in the new year, with PLTR stock rallying quickly to $45 in January of 2021. A fair question is: was this the handiwork of Reddit meme stock traders?
It’s certainly possible, as early 2021 was a time when r/WallStreetBets users were pushing various stocks to breathtaking heights. I can’t prove or disprove that they specifically targeted Palantir, though.
In any case, folks who bought PLTR stock above $30 were punished over the ensuing months. As of July 27, the share price had fallen to $22 and was drifting sideways.
As an additional point, Palantir’s trailing 12-month earnings per share is -96 cents.
That’s not deeply negative, but it would be great to see Palantir get its per-share earnings into positive territory soon.
Helping to Battle Covid-19
So, here’s something you might not have expected. Palantir is doing its part to help combat the spread of Covid-19.
See? I told you this company is surprisingly diversified. But don’t get the wrong idea – Palantir isn’t making vaccines or anything like that.
Reportedly, the company just renewed a one-year contract to assist the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Palantir will provide its software platform for multiple purposes: “to help manage the U.S. COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy, enable international distribution, and improve the equity and efficacy of vaccine programs.”
The timing really couldn’t be any better, as the Covid-19 Delta variant strain is currently threatening the health of the global population.
In total, Palantir has played a role in supporting more than 100 organizations in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Making Air Travel Safer
If you need further proof that Palantir isn’t entirely focused on counter-terrorism software, check this out.
Not long ago, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contracted Palantir to “provide a data analytics tool that will help advance the agency’s modernization objectives for aviation safety.”
This is a highly lucrative one-year contract with two additional option years, worth up to $18.4 million.
Palantir’s role will be to support the FAA’s aircraft certification and continued operational safety activities. This is to include the ongoing monitoring of the 737 MAX fleet’s return to service.
And hopefully, with Palantir’s assistance, FAA aerospace engineers and analysts will be better equipped to monitor, analyze and share aviation safety data, and thereby assess safety risk.
The Bottom Line
PLTR stock isn’t a perfect investment, as the price action has been uninspiring lately.
Still, the company is generating capital from contracts with powerful agencies.
And as Palantir broadens its business and even helps to address the Covid-19 crisis, investors should be more interested than ever.
On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.