By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch
Cannabis stocks rose for the first time in three sessions Friday, reversing some of this week’s losses that were driven by disappointing earnings with Aurora Cannabis /zigman2/quotes/210559470/composite ACB -3.83% /zigman2/quotes/203734337/delayed CA:ACB -3.81% leading the pack with a 5% gain.
The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF /zigman2/quotes/204332491/composite MJ -4.25% was up 2% with 32 of its 38 constituent stocks gaining ground. The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF /zigman2/quotes/208856346/delayed CA:HMMJ -3.89% was up 3.3% with 46 of its 54 member stocks gaining. The two ETFs have declined more than 7% this week, as major benchmarks swung between heavy losses and gains.
Market leader Canopy Growth shares /zigman2/quotes/200603886/composite CGC -8.85% /zigman2/quotes/202205609/delayed CA:WEED -8.40% were up 3.2%, but remain down 14% on the week. The stock fell after posting a more than a billion Canadian-dollar loss for its latest quarter and revenue that fell short of estimates.
GMP analyst Ryan Macdonell said Friday Canopy may have lost its market lead in adult-use recreational cannabis in Canada. The analyst slashed his stock price target to C$45 ($33.9) from C$65. Canopy’s C$6.4 million provision against oil and gelcaps being returned due to oversupply may be a company-specific problem, said Macdonell.
Macdonell calculated that 23% of the company’s third-quarter and 50% of its fourth-quarter recreational market volumes were extract products, while extracts accounted for an average of 7% of the sell-through volume in the recreational market since inception.
“We are decreasing our price target as the lackluster performance in recreational market sales could indicate that Canopy has lost the leading position,” he wrote in a note. “We remain positive on WEED over the long-term as we expect the company is well prepared for cannabis 2.0.,” he said, referring to the launch of new formats including edibles later this year.
Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey cut his price target to C$60 from C$100 and said the numbers were disappointing.
“With the global cannabis market not achieving the presumed near term growth opportunity for WEED, we suspect investors are now favoring disciplined growth and a path to profitability, both of which WEED has not demonstrated,” said the analyst.
Flowr Corp. shares /zigman2/quotes/205237089/delayed FLWPF +0.43% /zigman2/quotes/206895064/delayed CA:FLWR 0.00% rose, after the company posted second-quarter earnings that showed revenue of C$2.2 million, the midpoint of its guidance. But gross margin fell and the company’s average net selling price weakened from the first quarter, as kilogram produced and kilograms sold rose.
“Sentiment on Flowr is not great at the moment,” said Jefferies analyst Ryan Tomkins. “Their premium proposition in Canada (while still compelling for us) is still yet to be proven, while investors have also expressed a concern around the recent decision to buy 100% of Holigen (moving away from their current premium strategy and resulting in a large drain on resources).”
Against that background, the quarterly numbers are unlikely to help boost sentiment, he wrote. Tomkins rates the stock a hold.
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Elsewhere in the sector, Cronos /zigman2/quotes/206842762/composite CRON -15.90% /zigman2/quotes/202715342/delayed CA:CRON -15.69% was up 1.7%, OrganiGram Holdings’s stock /zigman2/quotes/209289540/lastsale OGI -5.34% was up 3.8%. and Aphria /zigman2/quotes/207425803/composite APHA -3.46% /zigman2/quotes/205566616/delayed CA:APHA -3.44% was up 3.6%.
CannTrust rose 1.5%, but was still down 35% on the week, after revealing regulatory issues with a second of its Ontario facilities.