CRON Stock Higher on Analyst Note

Cronos yesterday said it would delay its quarterly report

Deputy Editor
Mar 4, 2020 at 11:48 AM
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Cronos Group Inc (NASDAQ:CRON) is pushing off yesterday's two-year low of $5.14, up 3.2% at $5.49, after MKM Partners lifted its rating to "buy" from "neutral." The analysts' upgrade comes one day after the weed specialist said it would delay its fourth-quarter earnings report, garnering a downgrade from Stifel. MKM, however, brushed off concerns over this delay, explaining that the source of the late filing, bulk wholesale, is not part of its core business.

Analysts have taken a cautious stance on the marijuana concern for the most part. Coming into today, seven called Cronos a "hold" or worse, compared to four "buy" or better ratings. Meanwhile, the consensus 12-month price target is at a level the equity hasn't touched since October, and represents a nearly 70% premium to current levels. 

This recent activity has the options pits abuzz too. So far, 5,772 put have crossed the tape -- nearly double what's typically seen at this point -- compared to 3,324 calls. The most popular, but far is the April 4 put, where positions are being opened. 

Typically, it's bulls who rule the roost, as evidenced by CRON's 10-day call/put volume ratio of 5.97 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX). This ratio sits higher than 96% of all other readings from the past 12 months, implying that long calls have been picked up over long puts at a much quicker-than-usual clip. 

This preference for calls could be short sellers hedging their bullish bets, however. While short interest has inched lower in the past two reporting periods, down 1.6%, shorts are still firmly in control. In fact, the 61.96 million shares sold short represent a whopping 35.3% of the stock's available float, and would take over seven days to cover at CRON's average daily pace of trading. 

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