Cannabis stocks were flat as a pancake on Thursday across North American markets.
The North American Marijuana Index, which tracks the top cannabis stocks in the US and Canada, was down 0.3% to 221.7 points on Thursday. The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF was down 1.7% to C$16.95. The OTCQX Cannabis Index was up 0.7% at 723.7 points.
Shares of Aurora Cannabis Inc (TSE:ACB) (OTCMKTS:ACBFF) shares were on the decline Thursday, after BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded the stock to neutral from buy and lowered its price target to $8 from $10, on concerns about the company's cash-burn rate.
Shares were down 5.9% at US$6.97 in New York, off 5.8% at C$9.12 in Toronto.
"Aurora has emerged as one of the best operators in the cannabis sector, with industry leading scale and margins even vs other large peers, and global optionality," wrote analyst Christopher Carey in a note. "However, despite this, and a focus on profit, (CQ2 positive EBITDA target), it is burning cash and by our estimates could be cash negative by CQ120 (absent financing), namely if a large convertible debenture due in CQ120 stays out of the money."
The firm recently announced had started the process to open a CBD-only retail location called Blüm CBD in downtown Las Vegas.
CannTrust Holdings Inc (TSE:TRST) (OTCMKTS:CNTTF) shares were lagging Thursday, after a tumultous few weeks that saw double-digit losses after the company was dinged by Health Canada for growing cannabis in grow rooms that didn't have a licence to operate at its Pelham, Ontario facility.
Shares were down 4% at C$3.59 in Toronto, down 4% at US$2.74 in New York.
Last week, the firm put a voluntary hold on the sale and shipment of all cannabis products as a precaution while Health Canada visits and reviews its Vaughan, Ontario manufacturing facility.
In a rare move, Mackie Research terminated coverage of CannTrust. In a report titled "Can't Trust Management," the fim said it had already lowered CannTrust to a Market Perform rating on April 2, 2019.
"However, given the uncertainty surrounding the company’s Health Canada Audit we have lost faith in management and as a result we are terminating research coverage," wrote analyst Greg McLeish.
CB2 Insights Inc (CSE:CBII) (OTCMKTS:CBIIF) shares were on the rise Thursday after announcing it is expanding its data analytics platform into the UK thanks to a new partnership with the country’s largest medical cannabis pilot project.
The Toronto-based company announced Thursday that it has been selected as the exclusive research technology platform for Project TWENTY21, a new pilot project to assess the efficacy, safety, quality of life and health outcomes for 20,000 patients using cannabinoid therapies.
The data analytics company will provide the platform to build the patient registry and collect statistical evidence throughout the program, CB2 said in a release.
READ: CB2 Insights expands data analytics platform to the UK through new medical cannabis pilot program
Curaleaf Holdings (CSE:CURA) (OTCMKTS:CURLF) shares were on the rise again on Thursday as it announced it has inked a mammoth US$875 million deal to acquire private producer GR Companies Inc (Grassroots) earlier in the week.
The deal expands Curaleaf’s footprint to 19 states from 12, including Illinois, which recently became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana.
Shares were up 7.7% at C$10.72 in Canadian trading, up 6.7% at US$8.16 in New York.
The significance of the deal is important: the combined entity will have 131 dispensary licences, 68 operational locations and 20 cultivation sites.
Contact Katie Lewis at [email protected]