By Micah Maidenberg 
 

Livent Corp. shares fell 10.3% in late morning trading, the biggest decline among a cross section of lithium-producer stocks.

Livent reported a first-quarter adjusted profit of 2 cents a share on $68.5 million in revenue. Analysts were looking for 4 cents a share in earnings on $90.4 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Earlier this year, lithium companies saw their stocks gain strongly, in part because of investor enthusiasm for Tesla Inc.'s share. Those gains came in spite of a glut in the material, which is used in batteries that power electric vehicles and other devices.

Now, however, the lithium stocks have given up the earlier increases, crimped by Covid-19's impact on economies around the world and the electric-vehicle market.

"There is reduced visibility in our ability to forecast near-term lithium demand," Chief Executive Paul Graves said on a call yesterday about results. "A large part of this can be attributed to the broad disruption to the auto market and the implications of prolonged...plant shutdowns."

Sales volumes for electric vehicles were down in the first quarter, Mr. Graves said.

"We expect to see the impact of recent [original-equipment manufacturer] automotive shutdowns flow through the supply chain in the second half," Albemarle Corp. finance chief Scott Tozier said on an earnings call May 7.

Shares of Albemarle, which also sells bromine and other products, traded down 1.1% while the American depository receipts for the Chilean producer known as SQM were off 0.3%. Shares of Lithium Americas Corp. fell 1.2%.

 

Write to Micah Maidenberg at micah.maidenberg@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 12, 2020 11:25 ET (15:25 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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