Are ASX Short Sellers Correct Regarding Core Lithium Shares? - Kalkine Media

December 01, 2023 06:58 PM AEDT | By Team Kalkine Media
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Core Lithium Ltd (ASX: CXO) shares faced a challenging week, closing at 27 cents, marking a 3.6% decline for the day. The ASX lithium stock hit a new two-year low at 26.5 cents, contributing to a staggering 73% year-to-date spiral. Notably, Core Lithium shares have become one of the top 10 most shorted equities on the ASX, with 10.8% of its shares being short-sold, raising questions about the outlook for the company. 

Broker Assessments: 

  • Citi Downgrade: Citi recently downgraded Core Lithium shares from a neutral rating to sell. The broker also revised its 12-month share price target, lowering it by almost 24% from 38 cents to 29 cents. Citi's rationale includes concerns about ASX:CXO's balance sheet strength in the context of lithium pricing, with the stock outperforming peers, facing cost curve challenges, and trading at a higher valuation compared to industry benchmarks. 
  • Goldman Sachs Outlook: Goldman Sachs shares a bearish sentiment on Core Lithium, anticipating a challenging environment due to continually falling lithium commodity prices. The broker suggests that declining lithium values may necessitate another capital raising for Core Lithium. Goldman Sachs highlights the rapid decline in lithium pricing, estimating a 40% increase in underground mining costs since the DFS in July 2021. The broker expects lithium prices to bottom out around 2025. 

Market Dynamics: 

  • Lithium Price Decline: Lithium prices have experienced a significant decline, with the lithium carbonate spot price dropping by 71.5% to US$17,076 per tonne. Lithium hydroxide and spodumene 6% prices also saw substantial decreases of 78.3% and 64%, respectively. 
  • Financial Implications: The challenging pricing environment poses financial challenges for Core Lithium, impacting its ability to fund upcoming projects and potentially leading to increased short selling by market participants. 

Conclusion: 

The bearish outlook from both Citi and Goldman Sachs, coupled with the high short interest, suggests that short sellers may have a valid perspective on Core Lithium shares. The industry-wide decline in lithium prices and the company's specific challenges, as outlined by the brokers, contribute to the cautious sentiment surrounding Core Lithium's future performance. Investors will closely monitor how the company navigates these headwinds and whether it can address the concerns raised by analysts. 


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