This past year has been one to forget for many cannabis stocks, and the bad news for many marijuana companies is that the worst may not be over yet. But these two stocks could see a lot of growth in 2020, and that could make these companies great buys heading into the new year.
Aphria (APHA) has been one of the few bright spots in the industry this year, as it has posted profits for two straight quarters. It's been slowly making a name for itself as one of the safer buys in the industry. Despite sales growing by nearly 850% in its most recent earnings report, Aphria still recorded an operating profit, which is a rarity among pot stocks.
And the good news for investors is that there's a lot more growth expected for the company, as Aphria recently obtained a cultivation license that will let it double its production capacity. If Aphria can continue growing at a high rate while also staying in the black, the stock could be destined for great results.
While Aphria's stock has soundly outperformed the cannabis industry this year, it's still fallen 8% year to date. That's significantly better than the 36% losses that Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences incurred over the same period, but it's still not a positive return for investors. But that can change in 2020, as the industry has the opportunity to start fresh with lower market caps to start the year. There's also the potential for some more bullishness in the industry, as legalization could continue to progress in the U.S. while the cannabis market evolves in Canada and strengthens with more retailers.
Nearly a year ago, Aphria's then-CEO Vic Neufeld stepped down from his position. Despite the uncertainty and question marks that followed, the company made a lot of progress since then as it looks to be in good control under interim CEO Irwin Simon. And as long as Aphria stays the course and keeps performing well, it may only be a matter of time before the stock starts to pick up some momentum.
Trulieve Cannabis (TCNNF 0.32%) has also been an anomaly in the cannabis industry. With profits in each of the past four quarters, the company has been even more consistent than Aphria. In its most recent quarterly results, the company's net income reached $60 million, thanks in part to some revaluation gains.
Trulieve dominates the Florida market, with 40 dispensaries up and running in the state thus far. However, it has set its sights on even more growth, with acquisitions in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and California sure to offer even better prospects for 2020 than the $209 million it generated in revenue over the trailing twelve months.
The company's slow-and-steady approach to growth is noticeably different from other cannabis stocks that have been very aggressive in expanding to as many parts of the country and the globe as possible. Trulieve has avoided overstretching itself by having a more structured strategy, and that's why it could see a lot of success in new markets next year.
With the stock trading at a relatively modest six times sales and nine times earnings, Trulieve's valuation also makes it a key selling point for investors, as it's a very modest buy given the results it has produced thus far. Trulieve's performance in 2019 has been volatile, but year-to-date it's up an impressive 45%. That's significantly better than the 16% return that multi-state operator and cannabis producer Curaleaf Holdings generated over the same period.
Which stock is better?
Both of these stocks could perform very well in 2020, as they both have some terrific growth opportunities ahead of them. However, with Trulieve achieving such impressive returns in 2019, it may be a bit optimistic to expect the stock to be able to replicate those returns next year. Aphria, meanwhile, may have more room to climb given investors have still not shown a lot of excitement for the marijuana stock despite its impressive results. But if it continues to do well in 2020, it'll be hard to keep the bulls away, so investors who buy in today will be getting a bargain in the long-run.