Buying a stock near its 52-week low can be a good way to ensure you don't overpay for your investment, though it doesn't always mean it's a good value. When stocks fall to their 52-week lows, it can be an opportune time for investors to snatch up a good deal, but only if the investment has solid fundamentals and will rise in the future. The danger, and the risk you take, is that a new 52-week low could be right around the corner.
Below are three cannabis stocks near their lowest prices in the past year. Let's take a close look at whether they're good buys today or if they're likely to sink even further.
Tilray (TLRY) is an example of a stock that keeps falling, hitting new 52-week lows along the way. Down more than 75% in 2019, it's been one of the worst-performing pot stocks this year. By comparison, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (HMLSF 0.01%), which includes many of the industry's top cannabis stocks, is down a more modest 40% year to date.
Tilray, like many other pot stocks, has struggled as poor financial results sent its share price crashing. The Canadian-based cannabis producer deepened its net losses significantly while the recreational marijuana market opened for business in Canada. Net losses have consistently been more than $30 million in each of the past three quarters, totaling $100 million so far in 2019. For all of 2018, the company incurred losses of just $68 million. (The recreational market in Canada only launched in October 2018 during the last quarter of the year.) Tilray could be on track to double its losses from the prior year if it has another bad quarter in Q4.
The stock is currently trading at a multiple of 13 times its sales. That's low compared to industry leader Canopy Growth, which trades at 26 times sales. However, when compared to a more conventional growth stock like Facebook, which trades at a multiple of just nine times its revenue, both cannabis valuations are still very expensive.
Unfortunately, with Tilray not showing much in the way of progress, it's hard to justify buying the stock, because another disappointing quarter could send the stock even further down.
Auxly Cannabis Group (CBWTF 1.45%) isn't one of the marquee cannabis companies, as its $281 market cap makes it much smaller than even Tilray, which has a market cap of $1.7 billion. Auxly's stock hasn't done as badly this year as Tilray, and with a year-to-date decline of 36%, it's done slightly better than the Marijuana Life Sciences ETF. However, it's still an abysmal total return that's left the stock sitting at $0.45, near its 52-week low.
Like Tilray, the company has had problems with profitability, incurring a net loss of $80 million Canadian dollars over the past four quarters. To make matters worse, Auxly doesn't have much revenue, with only CA$5 million in sales during that time. Comparatively, Tilray generated sales of $135 million for the same period.
However, the coming year could be much stronger for Auxly, with new derivative products available in Canada starting in December. The company has oil, edible, vape, and topical products all ready to go for the launch of the new market segment. It also has an advantage over some of its peers because U.K.-based tobacco company Imperial Brands is a key investor in the company, giving Auxly licenses to access its vaping technology. Unfortunately, with health concerns weighing down vape sales, the benefit of that may be limited, at least in the short term.
Despite being smaller in market cap than Tilray, Auxly is an even more expensive buy, trading at 32 times its sales. And with no fewer problems to worry about, it's also a worse buy.
Neptune Wellness Solutions (NEPT -1.02%) is more than just a cannabis company, as it provides extraction and purification services to customers, allowing them to create a variety of health and wellness products. Neptune can put cannabidiol (CBD) or any supplement into softgels, chewables, sprays, and other forms, offering its customer turnkey solutions.
Although it's a new segment of Neptune's business, cannabis sales already make up less than one-fifth (19%) of the company's top line. Neptune provides extraction and purification services to cannabis companies and has multi-year deals with Canopy Growth, Tilray, and Green Organic Dutchman. Nutraceutical revenue remains Neptune's key for the company, with sales of CA$5.1 million in Q2 making up the bulk of its top line, which came in at CA$6.5 million.
Its diversification is likely a key reason why despite posting losses of CA$43 million over the past four quarters, the stock hasn't suffered significant losses. Year to date, Neptune is down just 4% and has performed much better than Auxly and the other stocks mentioned here, but it remains near its 52-week low.
It currently trades at 13 times its sales, which is comparable to Tilray's multiple. However, with a more diverse business outside of cannabis and the company being closer to breakeven, it's a better buy overall and the only one on this list that investors may want to consider buying today.
Key takeaway for investors
Although stock prices are down for all three of these marijuana stocks and they're all near their lows for the year, that doesn't mean investors should be rushing out to buy them. Tilray and Auxly still have a lot to prove before they'll be good investment options. Neptune is also a risky buy, but having its health and wellness extraction business to lean on, the company isn't entirely dependent on the cannabis market, making it a stronger option for investors today.