Marijuana stocks seem a bit wobbly at the moment and Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) is no exception. The CGC stock price hasn’t tanked, to be sure. Shares in fact still are up a healthy 53% in 2019. But the gains came early. Since late April, Canopy has dropped over 20%.
Canopy Growth earnings on Thursday will provide an opportunity to reverse the recent trend. That’s true not just for Canopy Growth stock but for the marijuana sector as a whole.
The trend in the CGC stock price mirrors that of other widely held pot plays. Investor patience seems a bit thin. Valuations, even with modest declines, remain sky-high. And sector-wide earnings of late haven’t been close to good enough.
If Canopy — the industry’s largest player — can’t deliver, investors are going to wonder who can. And that suggests that the rest of the sector could follow Canopy stock downward.
Expectations for Canopy Earnings
Analysts are expecting Canopy Growth to post a reasonably large loss in its fiscal fourth quarter. The current consensus estimate is for a loss of 24 cents CAD per share.
That figure isn’t all that meaningful for two reasons. First, the reported figure likely isn’t going to be close to that average. Canopy’s net income is impacted by changes in fair value of its convertible debt and warrants owned in smaller cannabis companies. In Q3, for instance, Canopy actually reported a large net profit thanks to those accounting effects.
Secondly, investors aren’t really going to care about profits. Canopy, adjusting for one-time and accounting effects, is going to lose more money than it did a year ago. Since last year’s fourth quarter, Canopy has acquired retail chain Hiku, which is not yet profitable. It has invested heavily in production and processing capabilities.
These are investments Canopy has to make, decisions that shareholders generally support. There’s no point in raising roughly $4 billion from Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ, NYSE:STZ.B) if the money isn’t going to be spent. Canopy has a head start on the industry, and it needs to keep spending to maintain that lead. That’s actually the bull case for CGC stock, as I’ve detailed previously.
Rather, investors are going to focus on revenue, pure and simple. Analysts expect revenue to increase 314% year-over-year. There will be some help from Hiku and other acquisitions in that growth but Canopy sales are going to soar. The question for Canopy Growth stock and for the sector will be if they climb high enough.
Bad Omens for Canopy Growth Stock
The concern for owners of CGC stock heading into earnings is that big growth from other pot plays haven’t been big enough. Hexo (NYSEAMERICAN:HEXO) increased revenue nine-fold in its fiscal Q3. HEXO stock fell 13% in the next two sessions after reporting those earnings last week.
Cronos (NASDAQ:CRON) earnings last month looked disappointing, though CRON shares have mostly held up. In April, Aphria (NYSE:APHA) stock tanked on an earnings miss with sales up over 500% YOY. Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) did a little better, yet its earnings last month largely failed to arrest its equity’s long decline. Admittedly, TLRY shares looked awfully bubbly last year.
Among the most widely held marijuana stocks, there hasn’t been a recent earnings report that investors have truly cheered. And so investors betting on an increase in the CGC stock price next week are betting against the trend.
Not Just the CGC Stock Price
That string of poorly (or at least coolly) received earnings reports is why Canopy earnings are so important to the sector. There simply hasn’t been much good news. Sales in Canada aren’t growing, though supply constraints are an issue. Movement in the U.S. has been essentially nonexistent since the farm bill was passed in December.
From a short-term standpoint, then, Canopy earnings are the last major catalyst for the sector for some time. We’re probably talking close to two months. In a broad market that seems a little prone to panic and subsequent profit-taking, that’s a potential problem.
Therefore, Canopy earnings need to be — and will be — watched closely by the entire industry. If Canopy Growth stock sells off on Friday after Thursday evening’s report, it’s unlikely to be the only one to do so.
As of this writing, Vince Martin has no positions in any securities mentioned.