Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Stock Market Today: Lithium Lifts Albemarle and Boston Beer Bubbles Higher

By Jim Crumly – Updated Apr 22, 2019 at 10:42AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Major benchmarks fell on concerns about economic growth.

Stocks fell Thursday on reports of a drop in sales of existing homes in January and a slowdown in manufacturing in Europe. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI -1.71%) and the S&P 500 (^GSPC -1.51%) snapped three-day winning streaks.

Today's stock market

Index Percentage Change Point Change
Dow (0.40%) (103.81)
S&P 500 (0.35%) (9.82)

Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Energy shares led the market down, with the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP -0.01%) losing 2.7%. Defensive utility stocks were rare bright spots; the Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU -1.88%) closed up 0.7%. 

As for individual stocks, Albemarle (ALB -0.38%) reported results boosted by strong lithium sales, and Boston Beer (SAM -2.57%) pleased investors with growth in sales of non-beer beverages.

Check out the latest Boston Beer and Albemarle earnings call transcripts.

Falling graph and city skyline.

Image source: Getty Images.

Albemarle rides strong demand for lithium

Albemarle, the world's largest lithium producer, reported fourth-quarter results that exceeded expectations and gave optimistic guidance for the year ahead, propelling shares up 7.8%. Net sales were up 7.5% to $921.7 million and adjusted earnings per share grew 14.2% to $1.53. Analysts were expecting the company to earn $1.47 per share on sales of $895 million.

Lithium sales, which account for 37% of revenue and 55% of adjusted EBITDA, grew 18%, thanks to a 14% jump in volume and 4% increase in price. Bromine specialties, 26% of sales, grew revenue 9%. The catalyst segment, at 33% of sales, had a decline of 2.1%, but excluding the effects of a divestiture, increased sales by 7%.

Looking forward, Albemarle forecast sales growth of between 9% and 15%, compared with the 8% Wall Street has been expecting. Guidance for 2019 adjusted EPS is between $6.10 and $6.50, better than the $6.14 analyst consensus. Albemarle, riding a wave of battery demand for electric vehicles, said growth will be driven by increased volume in its lithium business, and stated, "We are not forecasting any significant macroeconomic headwinds and have not seen any decline in our customer demand forecasts."

A beer for runners?

Investors raised their glasses to Boston Beer's fourth-quarter results, sending shares up 14.3% thanks to increased sales of beverages that aren't beer. Revenue rose 9.2% to $225.2 million and earnings per share of $1.86 exceeded the analyst consensus of $1.70.

Depletions, which measure the shipment of products from distributors to retailers, jumped 11%. The company attributed that growth to increases in Truly Hard Seltzer, Twisted Tea, and Angry Orchard brands. Depletions of the company's Sam Adams craft beer brand decreased in the quarter, continuing a recent trend.

Boston Beer is thinking outside the box and pivoting toward health-oriented drinks. This year the company expects to launch a craft beer aimed at runners, a craft hard tea with lower calories and sugar, and an alcoholic kombucha with live probiotics.

Jim Crumly has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Boston Beer. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

The Boston Beer Company, Inc. Stock Quote
The Boston Beer Company, Inc.
$323.65 (-2.57%) $-8.53
Albemarle Corporation Stock Quote
Albemarle Corporation
$264.44 (-0.38%) $-1.00
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
$28,725.51 (-1.71%) $-500.10
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
$3,585.62 (-1.51%) $-54.85
SPDR Series Trust - SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF Stock Quote
SPDR Series Trust - SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF
$124.72 (-0.01%) $0.01
Vanguard World Fund - Vanguard Utilities ETF Stock Quote
Vanguard World Fund - Vanguard Utilities ETF
$142.26 (-1.88%) $-2.72

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 10/01/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.