Your Special 4/20 Newsletter of 2017: Medicinal Stocks

“What weed stock should I buy?”

If there is one question I am asked the most, it’s the cannabis question. I’m asked about this more than whether to buy Facebook, Apple, or Lululemon. I don’t know anything about cannabis strains, but I can speak a bit more about cannabis stocks.


2016 to 2017

Last year I posted a newsletter on this celebrated day. I listed a few stocks to check out:

  • Canopy Growth Corporation | Ticker symbol CGC.V | $2.60
  • Aphria Incorporated | APH.V | $1.56
  • OrganiGram | OGI.V | $1.10
  • Mettrum Health | MT. V | $1.66
  • Emerald Health Botanicals | EMH.V | $ 0.17

This is where they’re at now:

  • Canopy Growth Corp.| Ticker symbol now WEED.TO on the TSX | $10.24
  • Aphria Inc. | APH.TO now on the TSX | $7
  • OrganiGram | $2.87
  • Mettrum Health | It halted trading at $7.05 because it’s merging with Canopy Growth Corporation
  • Emerald Health Botanicals| $ 1.54

WOW.

I wanted to buy all of them out of pure excitement, but at the time, it was a decision between me and JP. We decided on Aphria, mainly because of its price and proven earnings.


Cannabis presents a new industry for the public, and it’s still in its early stages as it’s working its way through various long and rigorous legalization processes. You can’t expect this journey to be straight and easy, but it’s going to happen whether you agree with legalization or not. (Interesting personal observation: Among the people who ask me what weed stocks to buy, half of them are very conservative and would never smoke it. The other half smoke it and still have shown no indication of buying any of these stocks.)

I remember the time when Colorado and the few other states were legalizing. It was impossible to tell which weed stocks to buy on the US exchanges. They each had the patterns of the new publicly traded company in a speculative industry: cheap with wild swings in volume and price moves. I had to wonder if a company was going places or was just another pump and dump.

I watched a lot of media coverage on Colorado. There was definitely a saturation of industry players – in other words, too many suppliers. Some went just as quickly as they arrived. The stronger, more resilient, established, and adaptive ones survived and endured. Others joined forces and resources to become bigger companies. It will be interesting to see how the industry plays out in Canada.

I’d purchased a couple of other weed stocks since, both of which trade on the TSX Venture Exchange. I bought shares of:

  • Maple Leaf Green World Inc. | MGW.V | 0.62 and
  • The Hydropothecary Corporation | THCX.V |$2.28

I did a quick search and found other stocks with good trading volume:

  • ICC International Cannabis Corp. | ICC.V | $1.29
  • Aurora Cannabis Inc. | ACB.V | $2.84
  • CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. | CMED.TO | $11.61

Oh! And I love that Horizons has created a new ETF: Horizons Medicinal Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (ticker symbol HMMJ.TO, $10.80). It’s got a wonderful mix of medicinal cannabis stocks from Canada, the US, and the UK, including one of my portfolio darlings, Aphria. It also owns some of the stocks mentioned in this newsletter so far. At some point, this ETF will start paying distributions (none yet). If this is a long-term investment for you, then you might want to hold this in your RRSP to avoid withholding taxes.

There are a few things to note about Canadian cannabis stocks. They’re inexpensive and they all overreact to any cannabis information that comes out of Trudeau’s mouth. They settle down after the market reaction to any news and shape up again for more investors to get on board before the prices go up for another run. It’s generally been run after run at higher and higher prices.

Most of these stocks trade very similarly to each other, with only their prices and trading ranges that might differ. If your stock isn’t moving like the others, you might have to wait longer to better see whether or not it’s a dud before getting rid of it. It also might just be a company that needs a lot more time before it proves itself to the market.

If you’re considering buying shares of cannabis stock, you’d have to look deeper into the company’s fundamentals. Remember, because they’re new and in their early phases of development, they all promise growth. I would pay most attention to company earnings and pick the one generating profits already.


The Cannabis Industry vs. the Market

Without trying to sound the alarm, I will strongly suggest that I feel that the market is going to have a major correction soon. The market had a huge nine-year run. We’re now facing rising inflation rates, a new US president, and heavier selling volume in the market as of late. Major stocks that had a good run outshining the market, are showing signs that their investors are now being cautious, even uncertain.

As proactive investors start to unload their positions, they’ll be executing their defensive plays (getting into utilities and consumer staples), as well as looking for what is trading on its own page and less affected by market moves. I think that cannabis stocks, given their industry newness and lower prices, will provide that opportunity for investors.

You might feel conflicted about cannabis and if you do, then you should probably feel the same way about alcohol. As we all know, booze was once outlawed and look at it now. The same will happen to weed. They say if you can’t beat them, then join them. What’s nice about a cannabis stock is that you don’t have to smoke it to own it.

 

 

 

 

Stock Picking – Part 2: Determine Your Investment Goals

Part 2: Determine Your Investment Goals

Objective: Identify your investment objectives first, and then let them guide you when you’re choosing a stock.


The main objective for investing in anything is to make money. With stocks, you make money two ways by selling your shares at a higher price than you paid and from dividend payments. Additionally, your decision to invest in a stock could be supported by a number of other reasons. Such reasons will guide you in the selection process.

Here are some reasons to buy a stock:

  • To fund your retirement 
  • For faster portfolio growth
  • To generate dividend income
  • You see potential growth in a particular sector, so you want a good stock from that sector
  • The economy is looking to slow down, so you want to invest in a defensive stock
  • The economy has been in a slump for a while but now business activity is starting to pick up, so you want to buy stocks to get in on the action
  • You like a company for its products, services, or growth potential, so you want to be a shareholder.

My investment objectives vary as I want to invest for the long-term (a fun and comfy retirement life) and the short-term (concerts, trips, and buying a couple of properties in Canada and somewhere hot).

For my retirement portfolio, it’s all about the long game and I’m looking to invest in something that will do me well for years, even decades. So, I look for stocks that have ‘blue chip’ qualities: they pay dividends, they’re well-known, well-established and have been around for a long time, and they usually offer more than one type of product or service which allows them to adapt to various consumer demands and trends. It’s also a bonus when the stocks are in defensive sectors such as utilities and consumer staples. I don’t do much analysis here, I apply a very basic, rudimentary logic.

There is no guarantee these stocks won’t suffer when the economy is slow, but the idea is that even during tough times, they’ll do better or suffer less, and they’ll still likely pay you dividends. If their stock prices take a hit, I’ll likely buy more shares when they start to recover because they’ll be cheaper.

For my swing trades, I look for stocks that look like they’ll do well over the next few months to a year. I look for typically strong stocks that have been quiet for a while and haven’t seen much trading action. When this happens, it’s usually because their sectors have also been quiet. If all the stocks in a particular sector have been down for a while, I’ll narrow down my selection based on the stock price and volume. (See Stock Picking – Part 1.)

The selection process for my swing trades is more involved as I use a very basic form of technical analysis of a stock’s price history to help me decide on where I’m going to buy and where I’m likely going to sell. Technical analysis is about analyzing the price history of a stock in relation to its trading volume, sector, and market environment. 

Many people dispute the validity of technical analysis and prefer to examine the fundamentals of a company’s value in relation to its share price instead. They’re all valid to some degree and many financial pros analyze both the technical and fundamental information.

I prefer to analyze charts because I’d rather see if I’m paying much more than others who got in earlier than me. The lower the price I pay for a stock, the more confident I am in the trade. It’s not a guarantee that the price won’t go lower, but even if it does, I will suffer less by getting in at a lower price than if I bought a stock after it became hot and expensive. I never buy a stock after it makes the news because it’s usually too expensive by then.

chart-1d

Above is a very basic chart of a stock that I actually own. I consider a stock to be ‘quiet’ if it’s trading sideways (the first horizontal line). Think of a stock’s price in terms of flying in an airplane; trading sideways is like starting on the runway. I try to buy either when it’s still on the runway or just as it’s taking off (no higher than where the airplane is). So I just have a quick glance at a stock’s chart to determine if it’s just taken off or if it’s gone far beyond the clouds. If it has long taken off already, I’ll just wait for another sideways setup. Sometimes this wait time could take months to years and I’ll just keep checking the charts every now and then.

For years, I’ve been using freestockcharts.com to look up charts for Canadian and U.S. stocks. It’s FREE and the features and tools for the charts are very similar to what you would use if you had a pro trading account with a brokerage. To look up a stock, you just type the company name and you can select it from the list of options it provides. Sometimes a company will trade on both the Canadian and US stock exchanges, so be sure you’re selecting the proper exchange for you. There are many short and informative tutorials available on its site and on YouTube.

__________________________

I look at the charts for everything I buy for both long-term buys and shorter-term swing trades as my goal is always to buy shares at lower prices. For the long-term trades, it’s more important that the stocks meet some ‘blue chip’ criteria. For the swing trades, I rely more on technical analysis, the sectors, and the markets.

Next time, I’ll get into how I analyze sectors and markets!

 

 

Column Published in Investor’s Digest

 

investors-2

August 26th Issue

 

If you’re interested in investing in exchange-traded funds, you can read about the various ETF strategies I recommend in this issue of Investor’s Digest of Canada! 


Other columns published since…

October 7, 2016 Issue: Getting Heavy Into Metal

November 25, 2016 Issue: The Investor’s Investor and Stock Picking

February 10, 2017 Issue: Smaller Time Frames, Bigger Profits