Cannabis Stock Pulls Back Despite Lofty Bull Note

APHA puts are quite popular today

Jan 19, 2021 at 10:48 AM
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The shares of cannabis company Aphria Inc (NASDAQ:APHA) are down 5.4% at $12.31 at last check, despite a price-target hike from Stifel to $15.50 from $9.80. The firm said Aphria's "recent results underscore the company's long-term prospects" after the company reported a second-quarter earnings and revenue beat last Thursday.

The hike is on par with the majority of analysts' stance on APHA. In fact, eight out of ten analysts called Aphria stock a "buy" or better, while only two recommended a tepid "hold" rating. However, the consensus 12-month price target of $6.48 is a 48.58% discount to current levels, so there's plenty of room for additional bull notes to roll in.

Despite the slight pullback, APHA is up 75% already in 2021, enjoying sector tailwinds after the Georgia runoff elections tilted the Senate in Democrat's favor. Now, there is growing anticipation that the prospects of cannabis legislation can now find some footing in Congress. While full-scale legalization may be out of reach, smaller reforms tied to police and banking could positively impact the cannabis industry.  Longer term, the shares boast a 268.5% gain in the last nine month.

Today's options pits are focused on puts. Although calls still outnumber puts today, the latter is trading at triple the average intraday amount, volume in the 99th percentile of its annual range. While the four most popular contracts today are calls, there are new positions being opened at the weekly 1/22 12-strike put.

Regardless of direction, the good news for options traders is that APHA has consistently rewarded premium buyers over the past year, per its Schaeffer's Volatility Scorecard (SVS) reading of 95 out of a possible 100. This shows the equity has tended to make larger-than-expected moves on the chart, compared to what the options market has priced in.

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