Anyone who’s been halfway paying attention to the action in cannabis stocks knows it hasn’t been an easy ride. From the most well-known names to the most obscure, it’s been a volatile and difficult ride. Aphria (NYSE:APHA) is no exception, with Aphria stock down big from its highs.
Shares have fallen roughly 40% from the February highs and almost 60% from its 52-week highs. To say that it’s been a rough ride is putting it lightly and these two performance marks emphasizes as much.
Earlier this week, we highlighted a silver lining in Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB). After the company reported earnings, shares took a tumble. But so far at least, the stock has avoided a lower low. That’s the positive take despite the revenue miss and bearish reaction in the stock price.
However, APHA stock has its own silver lining: the stock is actually trending higher.
Aphria Stock Is Stronger Than It Seems
Coming into August, Aphria stock had been dragging hard. Shares were down almost 50% in just a few months and sentiment couldn’t have been worse. Then better-than-expected earnings propelled shares higher, as the stock ran from a low of $5.02 to roughly $7.50 just a day later.
The one-day ~50% rally set the tone for APHA, even though shares are now lower at this point. I think the stock is down from its post-earnings high as investors try to work through various resistance points and as they fight the bearish stigma attached to the industry right now.
There’s no reason to mince words about it: Cannabis stocks are out of favor right now. That’s not likely to persist forever, which is why it’s important to look for stocks showing relative strength. While Aphria stock is not showing strength relative to the market, it is showing strength relative to its peers.
Identifying stocks with relative strength is because they’re the ones that tend to outperform when the group comes back in favor.
Even though shares have been under pressure lately, Aphria stock is still up 16.2% so far in 2019. That’s better than Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), Aurora Cannabis and Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON). CRON, ACB and CGC are all positive on the year too, but lag APHA.
Of the group, Aphria stock is the top performer over the last six, three and one month. For the last timeframe, APHA stock is up almost 11%. So this is certainly worth paying attention to.
The Exact Breakout Point
As you can see on the chart above, we have an ascending triangle formation developing in Aphria stock. That’s where uptrend support (blue line) continues to squeeze a stock higher against a static level of resistance. It’s a bullish trade development, as investors look for a breakout.
In this case, recent resistance has been near $7.20. But that’s not the big breakout point, in my view. Instead, I’m looking at the $7.60 level. This level has been notable resistance since the April breakdown. If Aphria stock can clear it, it will also mean that APHA has reclaimed its 200-day moving average.
In this case, clearing $7.60 could trigger a big-time breakout. The first upside target is 61.8% retracement at $8.68. Above that and I’m looking for a gap-fill up to $9.85.
There is risk, though.
If uptrend support fails, it puts the ascending triangle formation at risk of failing. Below it and the 50-day moving average is the first downside target. Below that puts the $5.80 level on watch and below that, the $5 mark is possible.
The Bottom Line on APHA Stock
The bottom line here is simple: Aphria stock is the most well-behaved stock in the cannabis space showing the most relative strength among its peers. Its stock has a very clear setup on the charts, while its most recent earnings report was good enough to ignite the recent rally.
A glance at the balance sheet reveals $422 million in cash and short-term equivalents. That’s notable, given the stock’s $1.67 billion market cap.
Further, current assets of $577 million is more than five times its current liabilities of $102.5 million. Total assets also significantly outweigh total liabilities, total $1.8 billion vs. $524 million.
In other words, Aphria is more than capable of covering its short-term obligations as it focuses on growing its business. If there’s a speculative cannabis stock worth monitoring right now, it’s Aphria in my opinion.
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