In like a lamb, out like a lion? That seems to be the story for quite a few pot stocks in 2020. The year started with many stocks in the cannabis industry tumbling. However, it could end with a lot of those same stocks with significant momentum.
Three marijuana stocks, in particular, delivered fantastic gains in November, with their shares more than doubling. Here are those biggest winners from last month and whether or not they're smart picks to buy now. (Note: Only the stocks of companies with significant cannabis-related revenue are included in the list.)
1. Aurora Cannabis
Beaten-down and much-maligned Aurora Cannabis (ACB -0.36%) ranked as the top pot stock in November. Its shares skyrocketed nearly 186% thanks to two key catalysts.
First, marijuana stocks in general enjoyed a boost from the U.S. elections on Nov. 3. Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana. Mississippi and South Dakota voters approved initiatives to legalize medical cannabis. In addition, the election of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden could signal a more accommodating federal stance on marijuana.
Second, Aurora posted better-than-expected fiscal 2021 first-quarter results on Nov. 9. The Canadian cannabis producer had predicted net revenue of between 60 million and 64 million in Canadian dollars. Its actual net revenue came in at CA$67.8 million. Aurora also said that it's on track to generate positive adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in fiscal 2021 Q2.
2. Village Farms International
Village Farms International (VFF) stock soared nearly 144% higher last month. The company benefited from several developments that fueled this huge gain.
Like Aurora, Village Farms' shares rose following the U.S. election. Also like Aurora, the company posted quarterly results that investors really liked. Village Farms' numbers were a lot better than Aurora's, though, with strong revenue growth and a small profit in Q3.
Arguably the most important news for Village Farms' long-term prospects was its full acquisition of Pure Sunfarms, the cannabis joint venture the company originally formed with Emerald Health Therapeutics. During November, Pure Sunfarms achieved several notable milestones, including receiving a license to conduct sensory evaluation trials for cannabis from Health Canada, the launch of new CBD products in Hong Kong, and the signing of a medical cannabis supply agreement with Shoppers Inc.
Shares of GrowGeneration (GRWG) vaulted 110% higher in November for much the same reasons as both Aurora and Village Farms.
GrowGeneration is the biggest specialty hydroponics and organic gardening retail chain in the U.S. The votes to legalize marijuana in several states should create growth opportunities for the company. GrowGeneration's growth prospects were already impressive prior to Election Day.
The company reported sizzling growth in Q3. Revenue soared 153% year over year to $55 million. Earnings increased 133% year over year to $3.3 million. Part of this growth stemmed from GrowGeneration's acquisitions. However, the company's same-store sales rose 73% year over year to $33.4 million, showing that it isn't just acquisitions fueling GrowGeneration's growth.
Are they buys now?
Despite its meteoric rise in November, I'm still not convinced that Aurora Cannabis deserves investors' favor right now. The company's fiscal 2021 Q1 results were worse than they looked at first glance. Aurora's revenue barely increased from the previous quarter. It continues to lose market share in the important Canadian recreational marijuana market.
I view Village Farms as a definite maybe. The Canadian produce and cannabis company certainly appears to be in a stronger financial position than many of its rivals. My preference, though, is to wait to see how Village Farms fares in early 2021.
That leaves GrowGeneration, a stock that I think is a great pick. The hydroponics market in the U.S. is highly fragmented. GrowGeneration should have a clear growth runway simply by consolidating this market. At the same time, the U.S. cannabis market continues to expand, making it even easier for the company to grow.
Sure, GrowGeneration's shares trade at a sky-high 82 times expected earnings. This valuation isn't that scary, though, considering the opportunities that GrowGeneration has. I expect this stock's momentum to carry over into 2021 and beyond.