Why are Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) shares dropping today?

Lynas shares are one of the worst ASX 200 performers today. But why?

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a miner hanging his head down as if disappointed.

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The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) isn’t having a crash hot kind of day today. At the time of writing, the ASX 200 has slipped 0.2% and is sitting at 7,147 points.

One ASX share that is contributing to this dip today is the Lynas Rare Earths Ltd (ASX: LYC) share price. Lynas shares are close to topping the ASX 200 losers today and are down a hefty 4.71% to $5.26 a share at the time of writing.

This move pulls Lynas down to the lower side of the range it has been trading in since February. It also means that Lynas is now more than 22% below the new 52-week high of $6.82 that the rare earths company hit back in March.

Even so, the Lynas share price is still well ahead when you zoom out a little. Year to date, the company is still sitting on a pretty solid 25.8% gain. It’s also up a pleasing 154% over the past 12 months.

So why are Lynas shares down in the dumps today?

Lynas share price drops

At first glance, it’s not really clear why Lynas shares seem to be on investors’ bad side today. There are no official news or announcements out of the company today, or since 18 May for that matter.

As such, it might be that some investors are simply taking some profits off of the table today. Despite the lacklustre month or two that Lynas shares have had, many long-term investors would still have some pretty solid green figures in their ledger for this company.

Perhaps after the ASX 200 hit a new all-time high last week, investors woke up this morning with a mind to take some capital off the table.

What else is going on with Lynas?

Back in mid-May, Lynas did tell the markets that it had run into some issues with its rare earths processing plant in Malaysia. These are largely related to the coronavirus pandemic, and involve nationwide lockdown restrictions.

Although the company assured investors that it would continue to operate under “standard procedures”, it nevertheless spooked investors at the time and resulted in a large drop in the Lynas share price. Perhaps this situation is still on investors’ minds today.

Whatever the reason, Lynas shareholders probably won’t be too happy with what the market has dished up to them today. At the company’s current share price, Lynas has a market capitalisation of $4.74 billion and a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 337.5.

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Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen 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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