Over the last couple of years lithium producers and miners have enjoyed a parabolic jump in their stock prices and market caps. As I will later illustrate, much of the gains for lithium related companies have come as a result of the “hype” surrounding electric automobile development. Of course, Tesla has been the primary instigator of this “hype”type, followed by mainstream automotive manufacturer’s initiatives in all electric and/or hybrid automobiles.
Personally, my assessment of the lithium industry is generally bullish long-term. Consequently, I believe that investing in carefully selected lithium companies at appropriate valuations could represent a compelling long-term investment opportunity. On the other hand, I never see value in positioning yourself as the “greater fool.” For those not familiar with this term, it suggests that you foolishly pay more for a company than it’s worth on the basis that a “greater fool” than you will soon come along and be willing to pay you more in the future.
Therefore, the seminal question I will attempt to answer with this offering is straightforward. Has the recent drop in lithium stocks brought these companies down to attractive valuation levels? As a general statement, most lithium stocks are significantly off their previous highs. Consequently, I have begun to see a rash of articles suggesting that this recent selloff in lithium stocks has produced a buying opportunity. Since the drops were pretty significant and over a short period of time, it appears logical that attractive valuations have recently manifested.
The Principle and Importance of Valuation
Before I go on, I want to be clear that this article is not intended to denigrate or criticize the works of other contributors.Instead, my primary motivation for producing this article is because this lithium scenario offers me the opportunity to point out and illustrate a quintessential example of both the dangers and risks that high valuations create. This is consistent with my plans for producing articles that elaborate on and demonstrate sound value investing principles as articulated in my January 18, 2018 blog post found here.