National Post (National Edition)




Interest from retail investors appeared to lift cannabis stocks broadly higher on Wednesday, signalling that the recent trading frenzy behind Reddit favourites such as GameStop is shifting to other companies.

Shares of Tilray Inc. jumped 40 per cent in morning trading, while shares of Canopy Growth Corp. and Aurora Cannabis Inc. both rallied more than 12 per cent. The ETFMG cannabis stocks exchange-traded fund, which has more than doubled in value since November's U.S. presidenti­al elections, gained nearly 10 per cent, while the broad S&P 500 index edged just 0.2-per-cent higher before turning lower.

The moves came as posts touting cannabis stocks as the next GameStop spread throughout the popular WallStreet­Bets forum on Reddit, linking it with the short squeeze that pushed shares of the video game retailer up more than 1,650 per cent in January.

“I missed the Gamestop boat, but I don't think we're gunna miss this one,” one user wrote.

The forum has become a must-watch for traders at financial institutio­ns since concerted action by some of its 8 million participan­ts proved enough to force deep losses in a handful of short-selling hedge funds in January.

Shares of GameStop have fallen more than 85 per cent since their closing peak of US$347.51 on Jan. 27, capping a wild ride that illustrate­d the power of retail investors trading on commission-free platforms such as Robinhood to influence financial markets.

Swaggystoc­ks, which aggregates sentiment on shares talked about in the WallStreet­Bets forum, showed Tilray was the most upvoted, or highly touted, stock in the group.

“I don't think the retail punter story goes away overnight,” said Mirabaud sales trader Mark Taylor. “I am really only watching the price action and trying to make sense of it all.”

Changes promised by some Democrats in Congress could help give U.S. cannabis companies access to more traditiona­l methods of banking and open the sector to new, institutio­nal investors.

However, some analysts argue that the valuations of the companies are becoming unjustifia­ble, especially for Canadian companies like Tilray, Aphria and Canopy Growth, which may gain very little from U.S. changes.

Canopy reported a reduction in adjusted losses in third-quarter results on Tuesday, but Stifel analysts said those fell short of justifying its current valuation.

Brokerage Canaccord Genuity, said the U.S. election-related enthusiasm had caused a “disproport­ionate amount of capital flow” into Canadian producers.

Shares of Tilray, which is being taken over by Aphria in a complicate­d reverse merger, are up more than 400 per cent since the deal was announced in December.

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