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Treat Aurora Cannabis Stock Normally at Your Own Peril

James Brumley

In retrospect, it looks like Aurora Cannabis (NYSE:ACB) is following in the same unfortunate steps as DelMar Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:DMPI), Therapix Biosciences (NASDAQ:TRPX) and Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR). Those three names all upgraded their over-the-counter listing to an exchange listing right on front of major selloffs. Although ACB stock has only been a NYSE-listed ticker since Tuesday, it’s already down 18% since Monday’s last trade as an OTC-listed ticker, and is still pointed lower.

Is it an all-too-familiar punishment of a company that might be seeking a status it arguably doesn’t deserve? Maybe, but probably not. Contrary to popular belief, most upgrades from the bulletin boards to a physical exchange are legitimate, and fruitful.

Unlucky timing? The timing of the NYSE debut of Aurora Cannabis stock certainly wasn’t fortunate. ACB stock was already in a downtrend that technically started back on Oct. 16. Given the nature and reason for that selling, simply moving over to the New York Stock Exchange wasn’t apt to stop the bleeding.

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More than anything though, this wave of selling arguably has more to do with the one thing most fans and followers (and owners) of ACB just don’t want to admit to themselves.

Concept Investing and ACB Stock

It’s an approach yours truly has lemented, and cautioned against, before. But, the warning merits a reprisal. Here goes: Just because you like the idea doesn’t mean that a product or service can be turned into a viable, sustainable, profitable business.

Call it “concept investing” … an affinity for investing in a company because it seems like a buzz-creating product is top-notch. GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) comes to mind — a name that’s deservedly synonymous with action cameras, as it enjoys the most market share in that arena. Problem is, that market isn’t exactly huge. Worse, the action camera market’s growth may well be slowing as more and more enthusiasts find their older equipment is “good enough for now” to skip the next upgrade cycle.

But the company sure does make one heck of an action camera.

Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) is another example of a name that was able to create a buzz at the intersection of a renewed fitness craze and the onset of the wearables era. It seemed brilliant … at the time. As it turns out though, interest in the idea waned quickly. Even many Fitbit owners ended up abandoning use of their fitness trackers within a few months.

Both FIT stock and GPRO stock are miles below their peak values, and painfully below their IPO prices, as their respective fads lose their luster.

That’s not to say marijuana is a fad … quite the contrary, actually. It’s also not to suggest the new exchange-listing of ACB stock was an IPO. It wasn’t. The initial public offering, which took place in Canada anyway, is ancient history.

There’s one common element, however. That is, investors fell in love with the concept of investing in marijuana at a time when it’s increasingly legal, but most investors never really stopped to crunch the numbers or (honestly) survey the competitive landscape. Had they done so for Fitbit or GoPro, a whole slew of investors would at least be a bit wealthier right now.

And there’s the rub for would-be buyers of Aurora Cannabis stock. It’s a work-in-progress, still in acquisition mode, in an environment that may be more open-minded about cannabis, but in an environment that’s also still supplying more questions than answers. As long as that’s the case, the bulls and the bears will fill in their own blanks, pushing and pulling ACB stock as they do.

That’s the long way of saying sentiment has hijacked ACB, which means anything goes from here. You’re better off following the trend than trying to spot where the next reversal will take shape.

Welcome to the market.

Bottom Line for ACB Stock

None of this is to suggest Aurora Cannabis isn’t a legitimate company. It is. And, if any organization can make a go of Canada’s recent legalization of marijuana, it’s Aurora. The company also just announced it received its first order for medical cannabis from the Polish Ministry of Health, underscoring its international potential.

Don’t read too much into the news or even last quarter’s impressive results, however. This is still a stock surrounded by hordes of amateur and even first-time investors who love the idea of a legitimate marijuana company, but don’t know or care about pesky little ideas like profits or the fact that it could become an easy target of organized, professional short-sellers. And that should be the scariest possibility of all.

If you’re dabbling in ABC stock, just be sure you really understand the rules of the game you’re playing. This is still anything but a normal trade.

As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can follow him on Twitter, at @jbrumley.

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