Every so often, Wall Street experiences a craze that is fascinating like Bitcoin in 2017. But now it’s the cannabis stocks and Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) has been a wild one to watch. It went public last year and within two months it had rallied 1,000%. 2019 has not been kind to TLRY stock as it’s down 32% year-to-date, yet it is still up 110% since its inception. Compare that to the S&P 500, which is barely up 2% in a year.
Today’s write up is to encourage those who like the stock to hold it and to also discourage those who want to short it. For full disclosure, I am not long Tilray nor am I an uber fan or a perma-bull of it.
While the IPO was orderly, the period that followed was bonkers. In September it spiked to its $300 all-time high from $93 in three days. Clearly, it was a massive short squeeze where buying begot buying until the equilibrium was restored.
Unfortunately for the Tilray stock bulls that was the high mark and it has traded horrendously since then. It is now below $50 and it can’t sustain a rally. It’s not so much that the fundamentals have deteriorated greatly. It is simply that the stock trade broke from the massive artificial rally. It takes time to restore the natural price action.
TLRY still has not grabbed the attention of major corporations. Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) and Cronos (NASDAQ:CRON) got billions from Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) and Altria (NYSE:MO). Tilray is still going at it alone and it’s struggling. It will need better alliances or it risks falling behind.
Before you send me hate mail on this, I am not calling TLRY stock dead. Cannabis stocks are a special breed in this early stage. They are trying to establish the industry on Main Street and they may not be able to always impress Wall Street in the short term. There will be ups and downs but the bullish thesis is too diverse in scope to call it dead now.
So what’s a fair value for TLRY stock? There is none because at this point they all carry massive market capitalization but with a tiny fraction of it in sales. TLRY’s cap is $6 billion and it recently reported $23 million in sales.
To that, management reported a big top line beat and 195% growth year over year. The stock spiked 6% on the headline and it is holding the zone decently given the overall stock market jitters. More importantly, its deliveries doubled year-over-year and that is the focus of many experts. They can’t grow into their potential if they cannot deliver it as well as improve their margins along the way.
The cannabis industry is still trying to adjust to its new legal status. This is a trend that is spotty for now but will grow its ubiquity with time. The U.S. market is an important one and many states will soon follow the ones that have already legalized it. But on the federal level, it may not be that easy. Luckily there are dozens of other countries for TLRY to potentially serve.
Bottom Line on TLRY Stock
The hoopla around cannabis stocks like Tilray is that they will disrupt so many huge markets that their upside potential should also be massive. The recreational use is what first comes to mind to most people but there are so many more like medicinal applications, potables and edibles. Maybe one day pot-based drinks will replace some of the soda, wine and beer consumption.
Skeptics would call it a craze. Maybe, but unlike bitcoin where the concept escapes 99% of all people, everyone knows what cannabis is and is immediately interested in learning more about it. The allure of it is undeniable as I see evidence of the interest everywhere I go.
So the bottom line is that although the experts can dismiss Tilray based on valuation and its distance from its all-time high, they would be making a mistake. Because as big as the potential of this multi-headed future area of business is, it will be impossible to quantify here let alone judge it right. Either avoid it altogether or plug your nose and buy the stock for the long term.
We saw the skeptics lose fortunes trying to short Amazon (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). Netflix still gets a pass on profitability because of its global expansion potential as should most cannabis stocks … including TLRY stock.
Nicolas Chahine is the managing director of SellSpreads.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can follow him as @racernic on Twitter and Stocktwits.