Why did the Lynas share price just hit a 52-week low?

Investors aren't feeling great about Lynas shares this week. Here's why.

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Key points

  • The Lynas share price tumbled to a new 52-week low today as the rare earths miner juggles a number of challenges
  • Tesla has announced its next-generation motor won't contain any rare earths elements 
  • Lynas also released its 1H Fy23 report last week revealing a 32% increase in costs and a 4% decline in profit 

The Lynas Rare Earths Ltd (ASX: LYC) share price is down 1.95% to $7.31 at the time of writing.

In earlier trading, the rare earths stock hit a new 52-week low of $7.26 per share.

Meantime, the S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) is up 0.53% to 7,565.6 points today.

What's dragging the Lynas share price down?

Well, it certainly doesn't help that Telsa Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) is doing away with rare earths in its electric vehicles (EVs).

At a recent Investor Day, Tesla announced its next-generation powertrain, which is an internal car system, will use a permanent magnet motor that does not require any rare earths components.

On top of that, sentiment towards Lynas shares hasn't been good since the company released its 1H FY23 results last Monday. Since then, the Lynas share price has fallen by almost 15%.

The biggest problem with the results was a 32% increase in costs due to inflationary pressures on inputs like chemicals, utility tariff rates, and employee costs.

While Lynas increased its production and top-line revenue, the cost increases were higher, which meant its profit slipped 4% year-over-year.

Lynas is also dealing with drama in Malaysia over its recently renewed operating licence.

The licence prohibits the importing and processing of lanthanide concentrate due to concerns over radioactive waste.

Adhering to the condition would mean Lynas having to close its cracking and leaching plant from 1 July. So, Lynas is appealing that condition in its licence.

What do the experts think?

Following the release of the half-year results, and prior to the news from Tesla, two brokers gave their views on Lynas shares.

As my Fool colleague Tristan reported last week, JPMorgan increased its rating to neutral with a 12-month price target of $8.60.

Coming off this new 52-week low, that's a potential 18.5% upside for investors.

UBS has cut its rating to neutral and cut its price target to $9. That's still a 24% potential upside.

Lynas share price snapshot

The Lynas share price is down 4.5% in the year to date while ASX All Ords shares are up a collective 6%.

Over the past 12 months, Lynas has tumbled 26% while All Ords stocks have risen by 3.3%.

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. 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 Scott Phillips.

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