By Tomi Kilgore, MarketWatch
Shares of India Globalization Capital Inc. rocketed Friday to a more-than seven year high, to pace broad gains in the marijuana sector, investors rushed to take part in the CBD-infused drinks market.
The Maryland-based developer of cannabinoid, or CBD, therapies’ stock /zigman2/quotes/205797879/composite IGC 0.00% shot up 27% in afternoon trade, and have about doubled just this week, up 101%, after the company said it entered the CBD-infused energy drink market. The rally put the stock on track to close at the highest level since April 2011.
Analyst Bobby Burleson at Cannacord Genuity said he expects revenue share for cannabis-infused beverages “should expand meaningfully over the next several years,” outpacing overall retail demand for marijuana by more than two times.
“Interest has spiked from the beer industry on mounting evidence of a substitution relationship between cannabis and alcohol, while large soda companies increasingly view CBD as a natural fit within their strategically important wellness offerings,” Burleson wrote in a recent note to clients.
Shares of New Age Beverages Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200595917/composite NBEV +3.77% soared 32% on volume of 40.4 million shares. The Colorado-based functional beverage company is scheduled to debut its portfolio of CBD-infused beverages at the North American Convenience Store show in Las Vegas on Oct. 8.
Also in the CBD business, with its products under the Kathy Ireland Health and Wellness brand, shares of Level Brands Inc.rose 8.6%. Earlier Friday, the company announced the pricing of its public stock offering.
Investor focus on CBD, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, increased after the Drug Enforcement Administration said Thursday it now places FDA-approved drugs with CBD in “Schedule V,” defined as having the lowest potential for abuse, such as over-the-counter treatments for diarrhea and cough suppressants.
Shares of GW Pharmaceuticals PLC’s stock, which makes the only FDA-approved, CBD-derived drug, Epidiolex for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy, rallied 7% Thursday after the DEA’s announcement to a record close. It slipped 1.2% in afternoon trade Friday.
Morgan Stanley’s David Lebowitz raised his price target on GW to $240, which is 39% above its share price, saying the DEA’s decision was a “de-risking event that should enable a strong launch” for Epidiolex.
The cannabis sector enjoyed broad gains Friday after two days of weakness, with the ETFMG Alternative Harvest exchange-traded fund /zigman2/quotes/204332491/composite MJ -3.69% up 2.9% in afternoon trade, with 26 of 37 components gaining ground. The ETF has gained 0.7% this week, while the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +2.47% has slipped 0.6%.
Among the ETF’s biggest gainers, Tilray Inc.’s U.S.-listed stock /zigman2/quotes/209129655/composite TLRY -2.36% rallied 5.2%, and has run up 39% amid a four-session win streak. Earlier this week, the company entered into a 12-month supply agreement with Supreme Cannabis Co. Inc.in which Supreme will provide dried cannabis to Tilray to support medical cannabis patients in Canada.
Supreme shares rose 4.2% Friday, putting them up 4.0% this week.
The most-active ETF component was Aurora Cannabis Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203734337/delayed CA:ACB -38.33% , which saw its U.S.-listed shares rally 5.8% on 8 million shares.
Aleafia Health Inc.’s stock /zigman2/quotes/203485112/composite ALEAF -3.43% slid 11%, but was still up 27% this week, fueled by the cannabis cultivation and health-care services company’s move to expand into retail operations and enter a supply agreement with CannTrust Holdings Inc..
CannTrust shares ran up 7.1%.
In other more-active pot stocks, Cronos Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206842762/composite CRON -1.61% /zigman2/quotes/202715342/delayed CA:CRON -2.52% hiked up 1.2%, Canopy Growth Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200603886/composite CGC -12.07% /zigman2/quotes/202205609/delayed CA:WEED -13.62% rallied 1.2% and DavidsTea Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203868725/composite DTEA +1.87% lost 5.3%.