Marijuana sector higher after Aurora Cannabis announces deal in Portugal

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February 26, 2019 12:31pm NYSE:MJ

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From Ciara Linnane: Cannabis stocks were mostly higher on Tuesday, as investors digested the latest flurry of announcements from companies in the sector and moves among U.S. states toward legalizing weed for adult recreational use.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. shares ACB, +3.08% ACB, +3.23%  rose 3%, after the company said it’s acquiring a 51% stake in Portugal’s Gaia Pharma Lda., with plans to establish a local facility to produce medical cannabis and derivative products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaia Pharma, which has just won approval to build a European Union GMP-compliant cannabis cultivation facility by the Portuguese Health Ministry, will be renamed Aurora Portugal Lda. GMP, or good manufacturing practice, is the EU standard for the authorization and licensing of food and beverages, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.

Construction of the new facility will be carried out in phases with the first expected to be completed by the third calendar quarter of 2020. The first phase is expected to result in production capacity of about 2,000 kg a year, growing to 4,000 kg a year once the second phase is completed.

U.S.-listed Aphria Inc. APHA, +3.51% APHA, +4.01%  shares rose 3.7%, after the company said it has entered a worldwide license agreement with Manna Molecular Science LLC, to develop cannabis transdermal patches. Manna’s patch was developed by scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and works for all cannabinoids.

Organigram Holdings Inc. shares OGRMF, +8.52%  rose 4%, after the company said it has signed a letter of intent with the Quebec cannabis regulator that means it now has distribution in all 10 Canadian provinces.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., New Mexico moved a step closer to legalizing cannabis for adult recreational use on Monday, after a house panel voted 7-3 in favor of sending a recreational cannabis measure to the full House, according to Marijuana Business Daily.

The state’s New Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has said she would support legalization as long as safeguards are included against use by children. Her stance contrasts with that of her predecessor, Republican Susana Martinez, who opposed legalization and restricted the state’s medical program.

Elsewhere in the sector, Canopy Growth Corp. shares CGC, +2.78%WEED, +2.77%  rose 2.7%, Cronos Group Inc. shares CRON, +6.75%CRON, +6.48%  were up 4.6% in a rebound from Monday’s lows, and Tilray Inc.TLRY, +1.43%  was up 1.1%. Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Inc.TGODF, +1.72%  was up 1.7%.

Hexo Corp. HEXO, +2.29% HEXO, +2.54%  was down 0.1%, a day after Jefferies initiated coverage on the sector and assigned that stock the equivalent of a sell rating.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. shares CTST, +2.32% TRST, +3.73%  were up on their second day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Jefferies estimates that the company has about 20% of Canada’s national medical market.

The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ, +0.75%  was up 0.7% and the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences ETF HMMJ, +1.80%  was up 1.3%.

The S&P 500 SPX, +0.04%  was down 0.1% and the Dow Jones Industrial AverageDJIA, -0.02%  was down 0.3%.

The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ) was trading at $36.39 per share on Tuesday afternoon, up $0.26 (+0.72%). Year-to-date, MJ has gained 11.89%, versus a 5.23% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

MJ currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of C (Neutral), and is ranked #59 of 75 ETFs in the Global Equities ETFs category.

This article is brought to you courtesy of MarketWatch.

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