The coronavirus pandemic has sent cannabis stocks and the markets as a whole into freefall over the past few weeks. And while that's unnerving for investors who have seen nothing but red, it's also a great buying opportunity with many stocks trading around all-time lows.
There are a couple of cannabis stocks that stand out today as attractive buys right now. Let's take a look.
Aphria (NYSE:APHA) is an example of a stock that's not just at a 52-week low, but that's also trading at its lowest level since debuting on the NYSE in November 2018. Over the past 12 months, its share price is down around 75%, on par with the decline of the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (OTC: HMLSF) over the same period. It's a drop that's in line with its peers, but Aphria has been a bit of a standout in recent quarters, performing much better than the average cannabis stock.
The pot producer has posted a profit in two of the past three quarters, and even though it's gotten some help from non-operating items, a positive net income number is still a rarity in the cannabis industry. But profitability may not happen in the near future given how the global coronavirus outbreak is keeping consumers indoors, which, in turn, will likely dampen sales as well.
However, Aphria's still in a better position relative to its peers and with just under 500 million Canadian dollars in cash and cash equivalents as of Nov. 30, it still has plenty of cash at its disposal. The company has only used up CA$71 million in cash to fund its day-to-day operating activities over the past six months, making it a solid bet to survive whatever adversity may come its way in the short term. If it can return to profitability once health officials have contained the coronavirus, it could once again become a highly coveted pot stock to own, potentially producing significant returns for investors who buy shares of Aphria today.
2. GW Pharmaceuticals
GW Pharmaceuticals' (NASDAQ:GWPH) stock hasn't done as badly as Aphria over the past year, but at a 50% decline, its recent performance is nothing to be excited about. It's also trading near its low for the year.
Although GW has struggled to post a profit, the good news is the company is achieving significant growth. Its cannabis-based medicine, Epidiolex, saw its sales soar during its first full year of availability. In the company's full-year earnings released on Feb. 25, revenue from Epidiolex totaled $296.4 million. That's 95% of the company's top line, which came in at $311.3 million.
While the success of Epidiolex will dictate the direction that GW's stock will go, there's not necessarily a bad thing as there's little reason to expect it to slow down in popularity. In September, the European Commission gave the drug approval in Europe to treat two rare forms of epilepsy -- Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. That opens the doors to a large European market GW can sell to. Currently, the U.S. market has been responsible for much of the drug's growth as Epidiolex is the only cannabis-based medicine that's FDA-approved.
Unlike the market for cannabis flower or edibles, Epidiolex is a necessity for patients who have Dravet or Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. So while the coronavirus may deter cannabis consumers from going out and purchasing recreational cannabis products, medical marijuana products are likely to continue to be in demand. That's why the coronavirus pandemic may not impact GW's financials as heavily as that of a typical cannabis producer.
The company is still in its very early stages and there's ample opportunity for GW to improve its financials over the long term. Like Aphria, GW also has plenty of cash on hand, with cash and cash equivalents on Dec. 31 totaling $537 million. That's more than enough to handle the $123 million in cash that it burned from its operating activities during 2019.
GW is an attractive buy for its ability to scale Epidiolex, which can improve the company's prospects for profitability in the future, especially as the market for Epidiolex continues to get bigger. It's a much safer buy than most pot stocks and could make for a great addition to your portfolio, especially at this discount price.