The stock market was relatively quiet on Friday, with the major U.S. indexes ending marginally lower. Many market participants seem worried about the damage the continuing government shutdown could do to the U.S. economy. Yet some segments did well, and investors seem to be regaining confidence in recently beaten-down marijuana stocks. Canadian cannabis companies Tilray (TLRY), Aphria (APHA), and Aurora Cannabis (ACB 5.48%) were all among the day's top performers. Here's why they did so well.
Tilray gets a commitment
Shares of Tilray soared almost 20% on news that a major investor isn't planning on selling shares in the foreseeable future. Private equity company Privateer Holdings, which is led by well-known venture capitalist Peter Thiel, released a statement saying that it wouldn't sell its Tilray shares in the first half of 2019. That allayed concerns among many who follow the Canadian cannabis stock, because the company's post-IPO lockup period is set to expire early next week. At that point, early investors will have the option to sell, but Thiel's vote of confidence should at least ease any downturn that stems from other shareholders taking advantage of that opportunity.
Aphria's CEO will move on
Aphria's stock finished the day more than 5% higher after having been up as much as 10% in earlier trading. The company said that two key insiders -- co-founder Cole Cacciavillani and CEO Vic Neufeld -- would leave their executive positions in the next several months. The executives came under fire amid allegations from short-selling investors, who raised concerns about Aphria's strategic moves and possible self-dealing. At the same time, Aphria also said that its revenue climbed more than 60% sequentially in its fiscal second quarter, reflecting the first month and a half of legal recreational cannabis sales in Canada. Shareholders hope that the day's news will help the company put a tough period in the rear-view mirror, but the erosion of the share price gains late in the day suggests a lack of certainty about Aphria's future.
Aurora keeps getting brighter
Finally, shares of Aurora Cannabis closed higher by over 7%. The marijuana stock built on gains from earlier in the week following the release of preliminary sales estimates for its just-ended fiscal second quarter. Some of those following the industry were concerned that the Aurora's numbers were weaker than they'd hoped, but other investors were pleased to see mainstream stock analysts starting to cover the cannabis space more seriously. It'll be interesting to see how Aurora, Aphria, and Tilray all do when they announce their final numbers for this quarter, and in the months to come.