Day: January 4, 2021

Why ASX lithium shares are running hot in 2021

Cut outs of cogs and machinery with chemical symbol for lithium

ASX lithium shares across the board have jumped higher in the new year.

At the time of writing, the Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX: GXY) share price leads the pack, gaining 11% today. The Orocobre Limited (ASX: ORE) share price is 8.81% higher and the Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS) share price is 7.75% higher. 

Breath of life into ASX lithium shares

ASX lithium shares have surged in recent months on the back of bottoming lithium prices and increasing optimism for a renewables revolution. 

Lithium spot prices have been in a downtrend since 2018, when the industry was inundated with new producers and supply. It wasn’t until recently that lithium prices finally began to bottom. 

Fastmarkets has revealed that most producers insisted on higher prices for battery grade lithium carbonate, citing a lack of material, and are targeting more than 50,000 yuan (A$10,087) per tonne for January 2021.

This compares to the average prices in the fourth quarter of FY20 of 41,731 yuan (A$8,419) per tonne. The update highlighted that prices for lithium carbonate for delivery in the second quarter of 2021 could increase sharply due to tight availability and increased demand. 

Tesla adding hype to lithium consumption 

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) is very much the symbol of hope for the lithium industry. On Saturday, the US electric car company came close to meeting its 500,000 vehicle deliveries goal for 2020. Tesla has been ramping up output to meet rising global demand for battery-powered cars, with plans to build new factories in Austin, Texas and Brandenburg, Germany.

The Tesla share price soared more than 700% last year and set a fresh record all-time high on Monday of $729.77 per share. 

ASX lithium shares waiting patiently

In Galaxy Resource’s equity raising presentation on 25 November 2020, the company was optimistic for robust lithium demand in the mid-long term. 

Galaxy sees global electric vehicle sales growing as high as 30% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the next decade. Its spodumene price forecast says that improved prices could come as early as 2021.

Electric vehicle sales have also shown a solid recovery towards the end of 2020 after a COVID-19 led disruption. Europe reported 99% year-on-year growth in September, while China neighbourhood electric vehicle (NEV) sales increased 113% year-on-year and 16% month-on-month in October 2020. 

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Lina Lim has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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Here’s why the Rhythm Bioscience (ASX:RHY) share price is up 15% to a record high

share price higher

The Rhythm Biosciences Ltd (ASX: RHY) share price has continued its positive run on Tuesday.

At one stage, the medical device company’s shares were up 15% to a record high of $1.30.

This is almost 1,000% higher than this time last year, making it a “ten-bagger” for investors.

Why is the Rhythm Biosciences share price on fire?

Investors have been buying the company’s shares since the release of two positive announcements in December.

The first announcement revealed that Rhythm Bioscience has appointed France-based Biotem as the global manufacturer of its ColoSTAT test-kit.

ColoSTAT is Rhythm’s lead product and is intended to be a simple, affordable, minimally invasive, and effective blood test for the early detection of bowel cancer. The company expects the product to be comparable to, if not better than, the current standard of care, the faecal immunochemical test (FIT), but at a lower cost.

Management also notes that ColoSTAT provides an alternative for those who choose not to, or are unable to, be assessed using standard screening programs.

According to the aforementioned announcement, Biotem was chosen following a robust due diligence process to select a manufacturer for the product that could execute on its ambition to address the global unmet need for the early detection of colorectal cancer.

It feels Biotem has the capability to deliver the optimisation and process validation of the manufacturing procedure due to its 40+ years of immunoassay development and manufacturing experience.

The second announcement that got investors excited revealed that it has been granted a patent for its key ColoSTAT biomarkers in the United States.

This is particularly positive given that the United States represents one of the largest diagnostic markets in the world. The addition of a US patent sees Rhythm expand its global footprint and ultimately, access to a global addressable screening market of close to 800 million people.

Rhythm’s CEO, Mr Glenn Gilbert, commented: “The granting of this US patent further strengthens Rhythm’s global position as an emerging leader in the diagnosis of cancer, initially in the area of colorectal cancer.”

“The significance of this patent cannot be overstated, as it expands our access to a growing global market, and importantly, with ColoSTAT being a simple, low-cost option, means that we are in a position to access the mass market opportunity in each key country. Having patent coverage in all the major global markets is a significant value-add for the Company,” he added.

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Ardent (ASX:ALG) share price crashed by half in 2020. Where to next?

Scared people on a rollercoaster holdingon for dear life, indicating a plummeting share price

Ardent Leisure Group Ltd (ASX: ALG) has had a year to forget. 

That’s because the Ardent share price lost half its value over the course of 2020, and has been among the ASX companies hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, with the new year and new hopes of a vaccine, can the leisure and entertainment company turn itself around in 2021?

What moved the Ardent share price in 2020?

Ardent Leisure owns and operates leisure assets such as Dreamworld and WhiteWater World theme parks and SkyPoint on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

Its Main Event portfolio in the United States also includes 43 family entertainment assets.

These leisure venues have been at the mercy of government-ordered lockdowns throughout last year, as the pandemic took its deadly grip on the world.

As a result, the company reported a bottom line net loss after tax of $136.6 million, which came on top of a $60.9 million loss in FY19.

The theme parks division reported trading revenue of $54.5 million for the year, down 18.8%.

The company has been making losses since fiscal 2017, after fatalities at the Dreamworld venue in October 2016 led to a sharp drop in attendance.

It has looked for fresh capital to help fill the fast-depleting coffers, with RedBird Capital recently injecting $129 million of cash into the US business.

The theme parks division has also recently received a $66.9 million loan from the Queensland Government.

Can the company turn things around in 2021?

Ardent Leisure’s business is obviously highly leveraged to the COVID-19 recovery theme, but there’s some good news on this front.

The Ardent share price has risen 80% in the last 6 months as the government eases social and travel restrictions.

The share price was also buoyed by the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index hitting 112.0 in December 2020 – 48% above the April low and highest since October 2010.

The fate of its 43 Main Event venues in the US however, is less clear,  given that the US is still in a deep battle to contain the pandemic.

Ardent has said that it will still face revenue pressures even if lockdowns were lifted, as restrictions on attendance numbers is likely to constrain its cash flow.

Beyond the coronavirus crisis however, Ardent Leisure possesses solid leisure and entertainment assets with relatively high barrier of entry due to the capital intensive nature of the venues.

However, the company has acknowledged that it’s competing for leisure dollars especially against online digital entertainment, where many traditional entertainment activities can now be enjoyed in a virtual setting.

About the Ardent share price

As mentioned, the Ardent share price has lost around half its value in one year. It started 2020 at around $1.40 before plummeting to a low of 10 cents in March. 

At the time of writing, the Ardent share price is trading at 70 cents, down 1.4%. The company commands a market cap of $340 million.

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Motley Fool contributor Eddy Sunarto has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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How this ASX REIT finished 2020 in positive territory

ASX outlook

The Goodman Group (ASX: GMG) share price was one of few ASX real estate investment trusts (REITs) to finish 2020 well into positive territory. Let’s take a closer look at how the sector overall performed in 2020.

Pandemic woes for office and retail spaces 

Retail and office-centric REITs struggled last year as COVID-19 shut down most shopping centres and the workforce largely shifted to working from home. Rent collections became a huge point of contention with rent cash collections falling significantly during the months of April and May 2020. 

Scentre Group (ASX: SCG), for example, saw its rent collections fall as low as 28% and 35% in April and May respectively, before a gradual recovery to 88% and 96% by September and October respectively. Despite a recovery in rent cash collections, and in metrics such as centre visitation and in-store sales growth, the Scentre Group share price finished 2020 down by 30%. 

A similar narrative took place for other office and retail ASX REITs including DEXUS Property Group (ASX: DXS), GPT Group (ASX: GPT), Stockland Corporation Ltd (ASX: SGP) and Vicinity Centres (ASX: VCX).

Industrial ASX REITs reign supreme 

The Goodman share price outperformed its ASX REIT peers many times over, surging almost 40% in 2020. Goodman’s property portfolio is highly selective and, according to the company, focused on high quality properties including warehouses, large scale logistics facilities and office parks around the world.

COVID has reinforced the consumer need for convenience and heightened the use of technology. These trends have continued to accelerate the adoption of physical infrastructure necessary to support e-commerce, including warehouse and data centre space.

Goodman’s development work in progress reached $6.5 billion in June 2020, accelerated to $7.3 billion in September 2020 and is expected to increase further in FY21. Greg Goodman, Group CEO, said the company is seeing strong levels of pre-commitment and long lease terms being sought by customers, as they secure essential infrastructure to support their operations.

The strong growth in Goodman’s pipeline, combined with the company’s 97.8% occupancy as at 30 September 2020, gave this ASX REIT the confidence to reaffirm its forecast FY21 operating earnings per share of 62.7 cents, up 9% on FY20. 

Goodman is also one of few ASX REITs paying a dividend, after going ex-dividend on 30 December 2020. The company will be paying a 15 cent distribution, or dividend yield of 1.60% at today’s prices. 

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Motley Fool contributor Lina Lim has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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