If you're a cannabis investor, you know that the industry is full of risk. Year to date, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (HMLSF -4.93%) is down 25% as concerns surrounding future growth and the financial health of cannabis companies are weighing down many stocks. One way investors can protect themselves is by investing in companies that operate beyond just the cannabis industry and thus benefit from greater diversification.
One stock that falls into that category is Neptune Wellness Solutions (NEPT -1.02%). The health and wellness company sells supplements, and its nutraceutical segment makes up a majority of its sales. The company's also made a recent move that could make it an even better and more diverse stock to buy.
Neptune unveils a device that can help detect early stages of COVID-19
On June 15, Neptune announced that it would be launching a new product, Neptune Halo. It's an electronic pulse oximeter that tracks an individual's oxygen levels and can alert someone when those levels get too low. One of the challenges with COVID-19 is that many people with the disease may not experience symptoms early on. By the time they do see symptoms, COVID-19 may already be in advanced stages. Alerting someone that their oxygen levels are low can help them get treatment earlier and potentially reduce the risk of a fatality.
The device can also potentially play a significant role in helping to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by alerting asymptomatic people that they may have the illness. Some researchers estimate that people with no symptoms may account for up to 45% of coronavirus infections.
Currently, there are more than 12 million known cases of COVID-19 around the world, including more than 3 million in the U.S. alone.
The company's also making hand sanitizer
A week after the announcement of Neptune Halo, on June 22, the company also announced it would be expanding its product line yet again by offering plant-based hand sanitizer. Neptune expects the product to become available in July as the company looks to take advantage of the growing trend toward plant-based products and a focus on sanitization.
Panic shopping during the pandemic put hand sanitizers in short supply. And with people wiping items down and cleaning more to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it's likely that demand will continue to grow for hand sanitizer, especially as businesses try to balance keeping customers safe with keeping their operations up and running.
Does this make Neptune Wellness a buy?
Neptune's coming off a fourth-quarter performance, the results of which it released on June 10, in which its sales of 9.5 million Canadian dollars were up by 68% from the prior-year period. Getting into hand sanitizer and selling Neptune Halo will only strengthen the company's financials. In addition to expanding its top line, these products will help Neptune to become much more diverse and less dependent on the cannabis industry.
Diversification is always important when looking at a company as a potential investment. And this Canadian health and wellness company has shown that it can adapt to changing conditions and produce a wide range of products. From helping cannabis producers create edible products to hand sanitizer and supplements, Neptune's diverse offerings make it a much safer investment than many other pot stocks.
Investors appear to agree with that sentiment, as shares of Neptune are up 16% year to date -- better than the S&P 500, which has declined 2% over the same period.
Although profitability is still a challenge for Neptune, with the company reporting losses in three of its past four quarterly results, there's reason for investors to remain optimistic; a stronger top line could strengthen its financials over the long run. With a growing and diverse business, Neptune looks to be a great buy today.