This Lithium Stock Could be an EV-Adjacent Winner

Albemarle stock is up over 57% year-to-date

Sep 15, 2021 at 11:11 AM
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Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB) is a global specialty chemicals company with product lines catered toward clean fuels technologies and electric vehicles. On Sept. 10, Albemarle announced it had raised its forecast for fiscal 2022, attributing this projected jump to higher pricing and volumes for lithium after experiencing COVID-19 pandemic-driven weakness. According to Albemarle CEO, Kent Masters, "We see exciting growth opportunities ahead for Albemarle, primarily driven by the importance of electrification in the transition to more sustainable sources of energy."

In response, five brokerages upped their price targets, the highest coming from Jefferies to $300 from $280. That's noteworthy because nine of the 20 brokerages in coverage maintain "hold" or worse ratings on ALBE, suggesting there's room for more bull notes in the future.

Albemarle stock roared to a record high of $253.09 after the news on Friday. The shares have shed 3% this week alone during the broad market September selloff, but their 40-day moving average stepped up as support. Year-to-date, ALBE is up 57% in 2021. Moreover, Albemarle stock offers a forward dividend of $1.56 and a dividend yield of 0.68%.

ALB is not the most fundamentally sound company on the stock market, though. The stock has an inflated price-earnings ratio of 36.44 and an even higher forward price-earnings ratio of 46.30 which indicates an expected decrease in earnings. Furthermore, Albemarle has struggled to find consistent growth on its top- and bottom-lines. In fiscal 2020, revenues fell 13%, primarily as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, ALB also reported two consecutive years of net income declines prior to the pandemic, experiencing a 46% decrease between fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2020.

Nonetheless, Albemarle is recovering nicely, growing its trailing 12-month revenues by 3% and its trailing 12-month net income by 87% compared to what was reported for fiscal 2020. In general, Albemarle stock remains an intriguing speculative play mainly due to the use of lithium in EVs, potentially making the company a secondhand beneficiary of the rapidly growing industry.

Options traders are in luck at the moment. ALBE's Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) stands at 88 out of 100, indicating the equity has exceeded options traders' volatility expectations of the past year -- a boon for buyers. 


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