In the bizarre market conditions of 2020, it's become even more evident that Robinhood traders are a cryptic and powerful force. Between their inscrutable support of bankrupt companies and wild speculatory purchases of coronavirus vaccine stocks, it's easy to dismiss the Robinhood crowd as undisciplined investors.
Although the platform's retail traders sometimes buoy the price of a weak company's stock beyond what its fundamentals support in the long run, there's nothing inherently bad about a stock being popular on a retail trading platform. In fact, many of the most-purchased Robinhood stocks are companies with massive long-term earnings potential.
Serious investors should stay informed about what the Robinhood herd is doing at the moment, if only to wait in the wings for a buying opportunity. All three of the stocks I discuss below are among the top 100 most held by Robinhood traders. Importantly, while all three of these stocks have the potential for massive revenue growth, they haven't realized that potential yet.
Let's investigate what Robinhood traders might have found exciting in each stock so that you'll know whether it might be worth hopping on the bandwagon in the future.
1. Canopy Growth
Canopy Growth (CGC 6.63%) grows and sells recreational and medicinal cannabis products in the emerging North American and European markets. Throughout 2019 and 2020, the company launched a handful of new products ranging from cannabis-infused beverages to vape pens, in an effort to tap into growing consumer demand. Canopy isn't profitable, but it is rapidly growing, reporting year-over-year quarterly revenue growth of 22%. To address its unprofitability, the company reduced its production capacity in Canada by more than 40% and shed a couple hundred jobs in an attempt to reduce its overhead.
In light of these cuts, Canopy's future is still uncertain, but it's probable that Robinhood traders love the company for its favorable revenue growth, which takes place in the context of a new and evolving global market for cannabis. The company expects to transition toward profitability through 2021 by continuing to reduce costs and increasing revenues. Profitability is no guarantee, but if Canopy's management succeeds, the stock's Robinhood holders may capture substantial gains in the long term.
2. Aurora Cannabis
Like Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis (ACB 4.34%) is an unprofitable cannabis cultivation company that Robinhood investors are fond of. The similarities don't end there: Aurora has also planned the closure of several of its production facilities in an attempt to achieve profitability. Along with these facility closures, the company's net revenues fell by 5% in the last quarter, suggesting that Aurora's position is slightly more precarious than Canopy's.
Despite falling revenues, Aurora increased its cannabis production volume by 23% and reduced its cost per gram of cannabis sold by 27% in the most recent quarter. These factors aren't enough to make the business a favorable investment, but they do show that it is taking the necessary steps to eventually be profitable, perhaps within the next few years. For Robinhood traders, that's probably enough to warrant a buy, but more cautious investors should probably steer clear for the time being.
As one among a long list of biotechnology companies that aims to produce a coronavirus vaccine, Moderna (MRNA 2.39%) has become a household name in 2020. Between its high-profile messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine candidate and repeated headlines suggesting that the company is making steady progress toward helping put an end to the pandemic, it's no surprise that Robinhood traders have rushed to speculate on Moderna's stock, pushing it to wild heights several times this year.
Like many of its biotech compatriots, however, Moderna isn't profitable, and it doesn't have any products on the market. This means that buying the company's stock is much closer to gambling than most investors are comfortable with.
Aside from its coronavirus vaccine candidate, Moderna has 20 other therapies in development across a range of oncological, respiratory, and autoimmune diseases. The majority of these projects are in the early phases of clinical trials, so they won't be delivering fresh revenues for the company anytime soon. If not for its coronavirus vaccine, Robinhood traders probably wouldn't give Moderna a second look until its pipeline programs have matured.
If you're considering whether to purchase Moderna's stock, keep in mind that the market's expectations for the vaccine candidate's success may already be priced in. So, if you're a believer in the long-term value of the company, it might pay to wait until the Robinhood traders get discouraged by any stumbles in its phase 3 clinical trials or the regulatory approvals process before scooping up shares of your own.