Full list of lithium stocks and lithium mining stocks

Here’s an exhaustive list of lithium mining stocks and lithium-related companies as well as their current market caps.

Lithium stocks are frequently compared to oil stocks. While oil powered the vehicles of the past, lithium-ion batteries will likely be integral to almost all forms of transportation in the future (see my post How to invest in lithium stocks). That means lithium mining companies stand to profit handsomely in the years to come. Here’s a full list of the biggest lithium mining stocks and lithium-related companies as well as their current market caps:

Stock Ticker Market Cap
Global X Lithium ETF NYSE:LIT $99 million
Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF NYSE:REMX $250 million
Sociedad Quimica y Minera NYSE:SQM $6.7 billion
FMC Corporation NYSE:FMC $4.9 billion
Rockwood Holdings, Inc. NYSE:ROC $3.02 billion
GS Yuasa Corporation TYO:6674 $149 billion
Saft Groupe SA EPA:SAFT $498 million
Galaxy Resources Limited ASX:GXY $198 million
A123 Systems, Inc. NASDAQ:AONE $511 million
Canada Lithium Corp. TSE:CLQ $133 million
Valence Technology, Inc. NASDAQ:VLNC $177 million
Exide Technologies NASDAQ:XIDE $310 million
Advanced Battery Technologies, Inc. NASDAQ:ABAT $87 million
TALISON LITHIUM LTD. TSE:TLH $320 million
Orocobre Limited ASX:ORE $119 million
Avalon Rare Metals AMEX:AVL $257 million
Reed Resources Ltd. ASX:RDR $85 million
Ultralife Corp. NASDAQ:ULBI $85 million
Lithium One Inc. CVE:LI $51 million
Lithium Americas Corp. TSE:LAC $94 million
China BAK Battery Inc. NASDAQ:CBAK $58 million
Electrovaya Inc. TSE:EFL $87 million
Coslight Technology International Group HKG:1043 $733 million
Ener1, Inc. NASDAQ:HEV $33 million
Western Lithium USA Corporation TSE:WLC $44 million
TNR Gold Corp. CVE:TNR $8 million
Latin American Minerals Inc. CVE:LAT $16 million
RODINIA LITHIUM INC. PINK:RDNAF n/a
Greenlight Resources Inc. PINK:PRZCF n/a
FIRST LITHIUM RES INC. PINK:FLNTF n/a
Polypore International, Inc. NYSE:PPO $2.73 billion
Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. NASDAQ:ALTI $71 million
Lithium Technology Corporation PINK:LTHU $40 million
CANASIA INDUSTRIES CORPORATION CVE:CAJ $5 million
Channel Resources Ltd. CVE:CHU $29 million

In the face of a global economic slowdown, it’s been a rough year for lithium stocks. Of the lithium stocks listed above, only two have posted net gains on the year: Polypore International, Inc. (+44 percent) and Rockwood Holdings, Inc. (+0.064 percent). Here are the top five lithium stocks losers year-to-date:

Company YTD Performance
Ener1, Inc. -94%
Canada Lithium Corp. -73%
RODINIA LITHIUM INC. -71%
Advanced Battery Technologies, Inc.

-70%
TNR Gold Corp. -70%

If I’ve overlooked any lithium stocks, lithium mining stocks, or lithium-related stocks, please note them in the comments section, and I’ll add them to this post.

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How to invest in lithium stocks

As with any emerging industry, investing in lithium stocks requires a lot of homework. Here are three ways to bet on the industry including several lithium stock picks.

Looking at investing from a macroeconomic view, it’s difficult to find arguments against the future of lithium. In the words of Forbes, “The gas engine made petroleum the world’s biggest commodity. The electric car could do the same for (lithium).”

When Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) unveiled the company’s luxury electric car, the Roadster, it took the rest of the car industry by surprise. Chevy and Nissan had banked on enormous lithium batteries in their respective electric cars (the Volt and the Leaf), while the Roadster linked together thousands of small lithium-ion batteries (not unlike what you’ll find in your laptop). The net effect was lower costs and higher performance.

No matter what the end battery looks like though, most of the world’s top electric vehicles rely on lithium battery technology to store and deliver energy. And the demand for lithium carbonate and lithium metal should climb rapidly alongside demand for electric cars and mobile gadgets with long battery lives.

As with any emerging industry, investing in lithium stocks requires a lot of homework. Here are three ways to bet on the industry:

1) Invest in a lithium ETF. There are currently two lithium-related ETFs that trade on the New York Stock Exchange (see my post ETFs explained in pictures for information on ETFs). The first, Global X Lithium ETF (NYSE:LIT) is a pure-play on lithium stocks. It seeks to replicate the yield of the Solactive Global Lithium Index – an index composed of “companies active in exploration and/or mining of Lithium or the production of Lithium batteries.” Buying shares in LIT is like investing in each of the 20+ companies that comprise the Solactive Global Lithium Index.

The second lithium ETF on the NYSE is the Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (NYSE:REMX). REMX invests in companies engaged in the mining of lithium, but also 48 other rare earth and strategic metals companies. That makes REMX far less of a pure play on lithium, but it does distribute risk across several other elements that are increasingly used in high-tech products including wind turbines and hybrid vehicles.

2) Invest directly in lithium stocks. There are a number of companies that are engaged in the mining and production of lithium. The biggest beyond a doubt, though, is Sociedad Quimica y Minera (NYSE:SQM). Based in Chile, SQM produces nearly 30 percent of the world’s lithium carbonate. The company holds rights to huge swaths of the Salar de Atacama – a Chilean lake bed that’s purported to hold 27 percent of the world’s lithium. Here’s a list of the world’s top five biggest lithium stocks (including SQM) and their stock performance year-to-date:

Stock YTD Gain
Sociedad Quimica y Minera (NYSE:SQM) -19.25%
FMC Corporation (NYSE:FMC) -13.8%
Rockwood Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:ROC) +.64%
GS Yuasa Corporation (TYO:6674) -34.7%
Saft Groupe SA (EPA:SAFT) -28%
Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY) -56.9%

As you can see, it hasn’t exactly been a banner year for lithium stocks, but that could change quickly if and when the global economic gloom starts to lift (or if we suffer through higher crude oil prices). If that happens, you can expect penny lithium stocks to outperform their larger rivals (see my post Top five penny lithium stocks).

3) Invest in car companies that harness lithium technology. The most promising area in lithium technology is the electric vehicle industry. Several companies in the space stand out including:

  • Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA): Manufacturer of the all-electric Tesla Roadster
  • General Motors Company (NYSE:GM): Manufacturer of the hybrid Chevy Volt
  • Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (PINK:NSANY): Manufacturer of the all-electric Nissan Leaf
  • BYD Company Limited (HKG:1211): Manufacturer of the all-electric E6 (see my post BYD Auto IPO: Is the battered Chinese battery and car maker stock a buy?)

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Beware LEXG: The Lithium Exploration Group Myth

If Gekko played their cards right, they likely off-loaded those shares at or around $10 each when they spiked on April 28. That would be good for nearly $47 million in profits even after shelling out $3.3 million on the penny stock’s marketing campaign!

I received a glossy, 12-page advertisement in the mail last week from Elliott Dobbs at Stock Market Authority. The cover had some interesting quotes. Things like: “A global hunt is underway for the NEXT Oil.” And: “This essential rare earth metal could soon replace 148 billion barrels of oil… worth $11.5 TRILLION in revenues.”

Inside were 11 pages of praise for a tiny company called the Lithium Exploration Group (OTC:LEXG). The mailer was well-produced and included some generic quotes on lithium from some of the world’s biggest news organizations. “The gas engine made petroleum the world’s biggest commodity,” Forbes purportedly writes. “The electric car could do the same for the third element on the periodic table [lithium].”

At the bottom of Page 10, I found the newsletter’s disclaimer in tiny type: “This featured company sponsored advertising issue of Stock Market Authority (SMA) does not purport to provide an analysis of any company’s financial position, operations or prospects and this is not to be construed as a recommendation by SMA or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.”

Interesting, I thought, as every page has SMA’s name plastered on it, and there’s a “signed” letter from SMA’s editor on Page 11 arguing the virtues of LEXG. Reading the disclaimer further, I found this: “Lithium Exploration Group, (LEXG), the company featured in this issue, appear as paid advertising, paid by Gekko Industries to provide public awareness for LEXG. Gekko Industries holds restricted shares of common stock of LEXG.”

Hmmm… I thought. Gekko just might be making a nice stack of cash off this little mailer if they’re offloading their shares on the publicity bump. Then, I saw that SMA’s making a nice chunk of change, too.

“SMA is paid $50,000 as an editorial fee from CM (Circuit Media) and also expects to receive new subscribers as a result of this advertising effort,” the disclaimer continued.

My curiosity piqued, I decided to see how LEXG’s shares were doing on the OTCBB. Shares were up 4,800 percent from $0.10 on March 21 to $4.95 at the close of trading on Friday! That means a $100 investment on March 21 would have been worth $4,950 barely two months later, and a $10,000 investment would have been worth nearly half a million dollars!

Looks like the ploy by Gekko Industries is working out perfectly. It just saddens me to think of all the investors out there who might end up losing lots of cash investing in a dead-end company. Even the OTC Markets Group is worried. They’ve slapped a “Caveat Emptor” or “Buyer Beware” warning on LEXG’s quote page.

The writers over at Stockhouse.com did some digging on Gekko Industries, which purchased the advertising, and found that its a Panama-registered company that bought 5 million shares in LEXG on January 12, 2011, at a cost of $5,000. They then dumped $3.3 million into a widespread marketing campaign for the company.

If Gekko played their cards right, they likely off-loaded those shares at or around $10 each when they spiked on April 28. That would be good for nearly $47 million in profits even after shelling out $3.3 million on the penny stock’s marketing campaign!

The day before shares in LEXG shot over $10, Lithium Exploration’s president, Alex Walsh, issued a letter to shareholders warning them that outsiders had been promoting the company’s stock.

“We seek to clarify that we have not engaged in any such activity, and have no connections to, or relationships with, anyone who would be engaging in the promotion of our stock,’’ Walsh wrote.

If Walsh was smart, he would have been selling any shares he held, too. After all, his company hasn’t generated a penny in revenue since its inception in Nevada in May 2006 (per Stockhouse).

If you’re holding LEXG shares, it’s probably time to jump ship. The stock’s lost more than 41 percent of its value in two trading days. Get out before the blood-letting starts. If you managed to make any money in the run-up, check out my post on the Top five penny lithium stocks of 2010 (EFL, OROCF, AVL, GXY, CLQ) for some lithium mining stocks that might actually make some money mining lithium.

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BYD Auto IPO: Is the battered Chinese battery and car maker stock a buy?

BYD has applied to start trading in China via a new IPO. Not everyone’s sold on the company’s future prospects, though. Here are four reasons to consider avoiding shares in BYD despite an endorsement from Warren Buffett.

BYD Company Limited (HKG:1211) got one of the investment world’s biggest endorsements when a Warren Buffett company ponied up $230 million to invest in BYD during the height of the financial meltdown in 2008. Now, BYD Auto, which has long traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has applied to start trading on China’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange as it seeks new capital for expanding its operations. Not everyone’s sold on the company’s future prospects, though. Here are four reasons to consider avoiding shares in BYD’s latest IPO:

1) Time for a turnaround? Things haven’t looked good for BYD over the past year. The company’s Hong Kong-listed stock has tumbled 60 percent since the start of the year on weaker sales and the conclusion of a government subsidy for economy vehicles in China.

Sensing problems on the horizon, BYD has undertaken big plans to orchestrate a turnaround. The company has partnered with Daimler AG (PINK:DDAIF) to build its first all-electric car and its announced plans to unveil an SUV and several additional higher-end vehicles with larger profit margins.

BYD’s management is fully aware of the mounting competition it faces from GM, Volkswagen and Nissan. We’re “preparing for a price war,” BYD’s head of sales Xia Zhibing wrote on his blog last month (per Bloomberg). The problem is, BYD doesn’t have much room to tinker with its pricing. Profit margins were cut in half last year to 5 percent on growing competition in the Chinese market.

2) The E6 as savior? After several delays, BYD promises its on target to begin delivering it’s all-electric E6 to corporate and government clients in the U.S. this year. The E6 is expected to be available for retail consumers in the U.S. next year and should have a range of 186 miles on a single charge. Although BYD’s the world’s largest battery maker, some suspect the E6’s delays are due to problems achieving the electric car’s promised range.

If it’s any indication, American car reviewers have been less than impressed with BYD’s other offerings to date. The New York Times published a scorching review of the F3DM – a combination pure-electric/gas-powered car that operates like the Chevrolet Volt. “The steering wheel vibrates. The dashboard hums. You feel the vibration in your molars,” a reviewer wrote after test-driving the car in February.

3) Looming litigation. If the E6 does indeed make it to the U.S., the company could face intellectual property lawsuits. BYD has long been accused of backwards engineering existing cars, modifying them slightly and slapping their own logo on the hood. The company’s also been accused of falsely touting high safety standards. “If you shut the doors too hard, they fall off,” an unnamed consulate told Reuters.

4) The Sokol sting. Much of the credit for Warren Buffett’s investment in BYD goes to David Sokol – the embattled exec who left Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) at the end of March, and has since taken fire for allegedly investing in a company that Berkshire ultimately acquired. “Whether or not they can manufacture their own cars isn’t relevant to us, because we see their real expertise is in the development of the batteries, the motors, the control systems for that,” Sokol told Reuters in January 2009. “That’s not to say that they can’t make a nice car, but a lot of people can make a nice car. The breakthrough from our perspective is the battery technology.” Until we get a real look at how BYD’s batteries perform in the E6, the rest is just smoke and mirrors.

Indeed, the whole thing has me wishing BYD would go back to focusing exclusively on batteries. The company has said a big chunk of the funds from it’s China IPO would go toward developing lithium-ion and solar batteries (per Reuters), but it’s also planning to spend heavily on growing BYD’s automotive line. Unless there’s a major cultural shift in the company’s highest level of leadership, though, I wouldn’t expect that turnaround to happen anytime soon. BYD may be good at batteries, but they’re a long ways off from being good at making cars.

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3 reasons to buy shares in Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX:LAC)

Young lithium mining stocks in a great position to capitalize on growing demand from electric vehicles in the years to come. Here are three reasons why Lithium Americas Corp. (TSE:LAC) might outperform.

When Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) went to market with its lithium-ion-powered electric Roadster, the rest of the automotive industry found itself scrambling to catch up. “All the geniuses here at General Motors kept saying lithium-ion technology is 10 years away, and Toyota agreed with us – and boom, along comes Tesla,” GM exec Robert Lutz said in 2007. “That was the crowbar that helped break up the log jam.”

Now, lithium-ion is the standard in a rapidly-growing industry, and that’s driven up demand and prices for the metal. That puts young lithium mining stocks in a great position to capitalize on growing demand in the years to come. Here are three reasons to consider adding Lithium Americas Corp. (TSE:LAC) to your portfolio:

1) World-class lithium deposit. Lithium Americas’ flagship Cauchari lithium/potassium resource in Argentina is the third-largest lithium brine deposit in the world. Drill holes at Cauchari, which covers 64,572 hectares, have shown a lithium grade of up to 900 milligrams per litre. The company’s Cauchari and Olaroz deposits sit on the Puna Plateau, which holds approximately 84 percent of the world’s lithium brine reserves.

2) Partnerships. Strong financial backing from some heavyweights in the automotive industry indicates that a mine will eventually enter production at Cauchari. Magna International Inc. (NYSE:MGA) currently maintains a minimum 9.9 percent equity interest in Lithium Americas and will have the option to enter into an off-take arrangement entitling Magna to acquire up to 25 percent of the LAC’s lithium production. Mitsubishi Corporation maintains a minimum 4 percent equity interest in Lithium Americas with the option to enter into an off-take arrangement entitling Mitsubishi Corporation to acquire up to 12.5 percent of the LAC’s lithium carbonate including derivatives and potassium production.

3) Growing lithium demand. A recent report by MarketResearch indicates the lithium-ion market will quadruple between now and 2020 to $43 billion. Rising gas prices and tax incentives from Washington could spur even greater than expected demand for electric vehicles (and lithium) in coming years.

Lithium Americas should complete its Preliminary Economic Assessment at Cauchari in the first quarter of this year, and a decision on mine construction is expected in 2012.

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Tesla Q4 earnings preview (TSLA)

Don’t expect a profit heading into Tesla Motors Inc.’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) earnings report, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect big things from the Silicon Valley car company.

Valuing shares in a stock that’s yet to post a profit is like throwing darts at balloons at the carnival. You feel like you should be able to do it (and you can every now and then), but you’re going to lose a lot of money in the process. Still, this is what we know going into Tesla Motors Inc.’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) earnings report that’s due after trading hours on Tuesday:

1) An upside surprise. Tesla reported a loss of $0.38 per share in Q3. Analysts were calling for a wider loss of $0.43 per share. Revenue grew by $2.8 million last quarter, and investors were clearly cheered as the stock rose 40 percent on the news. Its since given back all those gains.

2) Another loss on the way. Analysts are calling for a loss of $0.50 per share in Q4. If we get another pleasant surprise (meaning the company’s frittered away less money than analysts thought), we’ll likely see another surge in the company’s share price.

3) Tax credits could boost the bottom line. Nothing concrete has happened yet, but the White House has floated the idea of offering a $7,500 tax incentive for electric vehicles. If such a measure passes, it will, undoubtedly, benefit Tesla, and that should have a positive impact on the stock.

4) Beautiful lines. Tesla’s Model S is gorgeous. I don’t care if you’re talking about gas, bio-diesel or propane-powered tractors, the Model S will be one of the sexiest vehicles on the road when it debuts next year. That should drive strong sales, even with an expected retail price around $57,000.

5) Share dilution anyone? Tesla’s pushing hard to get its third car, the hush-hush all-electric Model X SUV on roads by 2014, but they’re going to need a cash infusion to do it. “It could be a secondary [offering] or a strategic investment,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said last week. “There is no shortage of interest.” If the company can surprise investors to the upside on Tuesday, a dilutive stock offering would be better received than it would on the heels of bad news. Maybe that’s their plan?

6) Keeping your enemies close. Rather than trying to strong-arm its way into the auto industry, Tesla has worked hard to position itself as a car maker and a parts supplier. Toyota gave Tesla a good deal on its sprawling NUMMI plant in California. In exchange, Tesla landed a gig as the power train supplier for Toyota’s RAV4 EV. If the RAV4 sells well, Tesla does well, too – meaning they’ll have more (much-needed) revenue to add to their balance sheet. The company has also forged partnerships as a battery supplier for the Mercedes A-Class and Freightliner trucks.

7) It’s not about the numbers. Tesla’s shares aren’t trading on dollars and cents; they’re trading on the assumption that one day the company will be making cash. No one expects a profit anytime soon. As the company adds more vehicles to its line (including a rumored “economy” car after its Model X SUV) and inks more deals as a supplier, expectations will start ratcheting up. Unless fuel prices magically start falling, though, I see no reason why Tesla won’t be able to compete with the world’s largest car companies in the years to come.

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Should I buy Tesla stock? (NASDAQ:TSLA)

Yes, their stock looks overpriced, but here are three reasons why I say still Tesla’s a buy.

At a time when car manufacturers are building boxy-looking electric vehicles that have the sex appeal of a Rubix Cube with its stickers torn off, Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) makes sleek, lust-worthy, high-end speed demons.

The luxury electric car maker epitomizes a sexy stock with its David-versus-Goliath attitude and tech start-up management style. That’s not to mention the fact that the company’s at the cutting edge of an industry that just might revolutionize the way Americans travel.

Still, I keep teetering back and forth on whether or not I should buy into Tesla. It’s hard to believe the founder of PayPal could decide to take on monolithic heavyweights like General Motors (NYSE:GM), Ford (NYSE:F) and Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM) and actually get in a few punches. There are a raft of start ups to deal with, too (like Warren Buffet’s pick, BYD Auto).

And yet, Tesla seems to be doing everything right. Their designs are strikingly beautiful. Their partnerships have been designed to make them an integral part of the supply chain for larger companies, and they’re attracting capital from the same companies they’re supposed to be competing with. There just might be something to this stock, after all. Indeed, here are three reasons why I say Tesla’s a buy:

1) Innovative technology. Tesla’s batteries are actually groups of batteries. Rather than building one massive unit, they link together thousands of small lithium-ion batteries (much like laptop batteries) in every car. According to the Mercury News, this keeps their costs lower than the larger lithium batteries used in the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. Lower costs per car means more profits despite what might be a lower sales volume than their competitors will snag. Indeed, Tesla’s battery costs per kilowatt hour are estimated to be a quarter of the cost of equivalent power for the Leaf and the Volt.

2) Great management. Tesla’s co-founder Elon Musk nearly bankrupted himself trying to get Tesla’s first cars to the market. He’s got the proverbial “skin in the game,” and that means he’s going to do everything in his power to see the company succeed. This wouldn’t mean much if Musk didn’t have a track record for creating game-changing companies. He did just that in 1999 when he helped launch PayPal.com. PayPal was acquired by eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) for $1.5 billion just two years later.

3) Well-placed partnerships. You’d think Toyota wouldn’t want to give a penny to Tesla, but they’ve actually hired the company to produce the electric components for their upcoming RAV4 electric SUV. Tesla will generate some $60 million in revenue from the deal, and the company will be able to refine their manufacturing process as they turn out the batteries, motors and other components for the RAV4.

This has been part of Musk’s plan from the very start: if Tesla can become not just a manufacturer of EVs, but a electric powertrain supplier for some of the world’s biggest carmakers, it’ll have its fingers in a much larger piece of the pie, and I suspect that will pay off in the end.

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Top five penny lithium stocks of 2010 (EFL, OROCF, AVL, GXY, CLQ)

Trying to get out in front of the lithium craze? Not a bad idea considering the fact that GM thought the technology was a decade away from mass production (until Tesla came along and shot that theory to hell). Here are the top-performing lithium penny stocks of 2010.

Lithium penny stocks

Trying to get out in front of the lithium craze? Not a bad idea considering the fact that GM thought the technology was a decade away from mass production (until Tesla – NASDAQ:TSLA – came along and shot that theory to hell). Here are the top-performing lithium penny stocks of 2010. I just wish I would have discovered them twelve months ago!

1) Electrovaya Inc. (TSE:EFL), +187% YTD

2) Orocobre LTD. (PINK:OROCF), +179% YTD

3) Avalon Rare Metals, Inc. (TSE:AVL), +34% YTD

4) Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY), +14.8% YTD

5) Canada Lithium Corp. (TSE:CLQ), +125% past three months

Honorable Mention goes to Talison Lithium LTD., which trades on the Pink Sheets under ticker TLTHF. Although it’s not technically a penny stock at $6.40 per share, it is, nonetheless on a limited exchange. Best of all, it’s up 43.3 percent YTD.

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