Citron: This Weed Stock is 'All Hype'

Citron accused cannabis company Cronos Group of misleading investors

Managing Editor
Aug 30, 2018 at 2:40 PM
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Stocks are sliding today, as the deadline for a U.S.-Canada trade deal looms. Looking at individual stocks, shares of weed stock Cronos Group Inc (NASDAQ:CRON), biotech Eagle Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:EGRX), and oil services stock RPC, Inc. (NYSE:RES) are all lower. Here's a closer look at what's moving shares of CRON, EGRX, and RES.

Options Bears Pile On CRON After Citron Report

Cronos stock is down 28.6% to trade at $9.09, after notorious short seller Citron Research tweeted that the company is "everything that is contaminated about the Cannabis space. ALL HYPE with possible securities fraud."

While setting a price target of $3.50 -- representing expected downside of 73% drop from yesterday's close of $12.74 -- Citron's report claims Cronos is "deceiving the investing public by purposely not disclosing the size of its distribution agreements with [Canadian] provinces - unlike every other major cannabis player." Further, Citron's sources say it's because the supply agreements are "so small they could never justify the premium investors are paying for the stock."

Like most other weed stocks, CRON broke out in a big way earlier this month, with help from reports of Diageo's (DEO) interest in cannabis suppliers. This culminated in a record high of $12.89 on Monday, Aug. 27 -- representing a 128% surge from the equity's close of $5.65 on Aug. 14. Even with today's plunge, Cronos shares are still up more than 55% month-to-date.

In addition, it seems a near-term pullback may have been in the cards for Cronos stock. The stock sported a 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) of 81 at last night's close -- well into overbought territory.

In response to the pullback, options bears have come out of the woodwork. Over 75,000 CRON puts have changed hands today, 25 times the average intraday volume and already more than three times yesterday's annual high of just over 18,000 puts. Leading the charge is the weekly 9/7 11.50-strike put, where new positions are being opened. Buyers of the puts expect CRON to extend its retreat south of $11.50 through the end of next week.

Low Enrollment Numbers Sink EGRX

Eagle Pharmaceuticals stock is down 13.3% to trade at $70.76, one of the worst stocks on the Nasdaq today, after reporting low enrollment numbers for a study of Ryanodex, the company's heat stroke drug. EGRX is on track for its worst day and month since July 2017, down more than 10% in August. In the shorter term, the shares are in danger of breaching their 100-day moving average for the first time since May. 

Although Eagle stock is currently on the short-sale restricted (SSR) list, short sellers are likely cheering today's drop. Short interest increased by 8% in the most recent reporting period to 2.59 million shares, the most since early May. This represents a whopping 26% of EGRX's total available float.

Analyst Sees Subpar Quarterly Results Ahead For RPC

RES stock is down 7.4% to trade at $13.32 after SunTrust Robinson downgraded the oil services name to "hold" from "buy," while slashing its price target to $16 from $25. The analyst in coverage forecast weaker earnings numbers over the next few quarters. RES is dangerously close to its July 25 two-year low of $13. The shares have now shed 47% in 2018, and the $15.50-$16 level has provided stiff overhead resistance since June.

Again, though, several short sellers are likely celebrating today. Short interest on RES surged nearly 60% in the past two reporting periods, and now accounts for close to 40% of the stock's total available float.

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