How did the Core Lithium share price beat the market in September?

Core Lithium somehow managed to beat the market last month. What drove this outperformance?

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The Core Lithium Ltd (ASX: CXO) share price had a wild month in September.

The lithium miner's shares continued their downward trajectory for much of the month and even hit a new two-year low of 33 cents at one stage.

At that point, Core Lithium's shares were on course to record a disappointing 17% decline for the month.

However, an announcement on the final trading day of September wiped out all those declines and led to the Core Lithium share price ending the period with a 2.5% gain.

This compares favourably to a decline of approximately 3.5% by the ASX 200 index.

What drove the Core Lithium share price higher?

Investors were scrambling to buy the company's shares after it announced its maiden profit.

For FY 2023, Core Lithium reported revenue of $50.6 million, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of $14 million, and a net profit after tax of $10.8 million. This led to the company ending the period with cash of $153 million and no debt, excluding the proceeds from its recent capital raising.

Also potentially giving the Core Lithium share price a lift was management's reiteration of its FY 2024 guidance.

Despite inflationary pressures in the resources sector, the company has reaffirmed its spodumene production guidance of 80,000 to 90,000 tonnes with C1 costs of $1,165 to $1,250 a tonne.

The team at Macquarie was pleased with the news. Particularly given that it was expecting Core Lithium to post a loss for the year.

The broker responded to the news by retaining its outperform rating and 65 cents price target. This implies a potential upside of more than 50% over the next 12 months.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Macquarie Group. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Macquarie Group. 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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