GDP growth slows to 0.8%, origin plummets, lithium miners smoke

The Australian equity market overcame a rapid decline in lithium miners to climb higher on Wednesday, helped by encouraging signs for the local economy which grew more than expected in the March quarter.

Them&The P/ASX 200 climbed 0.3%, adding 22.8 points to the blue chip benchmark, which closed at 7234 points. The wider S&The P All Ordinaries benchmark index gained 7.7 points to 7462.9 for an increase of 0.1%.

The trading session was marked by a sharp drop in lithium stocks that pushed some of the chemical element’s biggest producers to their worst days since the pandemic began.

The three largest declines among blue chips were all lithium producers. Shares of Pilbara Minerals fell 22% to $2.30, their worst day in seven years, in a decline that topped all other blue chips.

Pilbara Minerals, Liontown Resources and Allkem were the biggest losers on the S&The P/ASX 200 Index in a horror day for lithium-focused stocks.

Companies were hit with a triple whammy as Argentine customs set a benchmark price to stop ‘irregularities’, Goldman Sachs warned of a ‘sharp correction’ and Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD announced its intention to buy six African lithium mines.

Pilbara Minerals fell 22% to $2.3, Liontown lost 19% to close at $1.45 and Allkem was down 15% to $11.6.

Origin Energy also led the declines, falling 13.7% to $5.9 after withdrawing its forecast.

The utilities sector closed 5.27%, offset by gains in communication services, financials, industrials and consumer staples.

Telecom operators Telstra and TPG Telecom, both up around 3%, and Fortescue Metals, gaining 3.23% to $20.76, were the main gainers.

Them&The P/ASX 200 ended Monday’s session up 0.32%, or 22.8 points higher at 7,234. The All Ordinaries closed up 0.10%, or 7.7 points at 7,462, 9.

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