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Going Green: An Investor’s Guide to Cannabis Stocks

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The war on marijuana is slowly coming to an end, and don’t investors know it. Very few industries have captured the imagination of Wall Street and Main Street quite like cannabis. With legalization sweeping the continent, many investors believe they are on the cusp of a generational opportunity that cuts across the medical, consumer goods and lifestyle industries.

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The past 18 months have featured several watershed moments for the cannabis industry. The most profound moment came on election day, when seven U.S. states legalized recreational marijuana. North of the border, the Canadian government recently announced it will fully legalize recreational weed on July 1, 2018, some 17 years after it sanctioned medical marijuana.

These seismic shifts in public policy have left marijuana stocks seeing green, leading to an outpour of support in the mainstream investment community. But before investors get high off marijuana stocks, it’s critical to get educated about the industry. This will help separate fact from fiction in a sector brimming with more confidence than its fundamentals say it should support at the moment.

Legalization: Where We Stand

Seven states legalized marijuana in some form during the November 8 election. California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada voted in favor of recreational weed, while Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota backed legalizing medical marijuana.

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From an investment perspective, much of the excitement emanates from the four states that legalized recreational cannabis. California is widely regarded as the proxy for the marijuana industry. If cannabis can succeed here, it can succeed anywhere. 

Colorado has also given investors a good indication of how cannabis reform can generate growth. The sale of recreational marijuana topped $1.6 billion in 2016. That translates into $200 million in tax revenue for the state.[1] 

Though legalization has been a resounding success in Colorado, the outcome is only a fraction of what California can achieve. For starters, California is eight times bigger, and if it were its own country, it would be the world’s sixth largest economy. California’s path from legalization to business generation will have a direct impact on the pot debate across the country.

The state has already vowed to fight a recent federal crackdown on recreational use, with an unusual alliance of government officials and the cannabis industry quickly taking shape. That’s because state lawmakers realize that marijuana is big business and a potential boon to the local economy. The November referendum also convinced state lawmakers that a huge swathe of the population was in full support of legalization.

Other States to Watch

Investors concerned about the federal ban on cannabis should take solace in the fact that the legalization debate is heating up across the country. In addition to the eight states that have fully legalized recreational cannabis, seven others are debating its future. The legalization debate is germinating in Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont, Missouri, New Mexico, Kentucky and Texas, a sign they could be next headed to the polls.

Legalization was barely struck down in Arizona last November, with 51.3% of state residents voting against Proposition 205, a statute that would have permitted recreational use.

Source: Business Insider. States Where Marijuana Is Legalized.

Canada

There’s just as much excitement about marijuana in Canada, which is expected to fully legalize recreational use of the plant in the not-too-distant future. In early April, the federal government filed an Act to Amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act with the legislation officially introduced two days later. Justin Trudeau’s government is expected to implement the legislation by July 2018.[2]

Although Canada became one of the first countries to legalize medicinal marijuana back in 2001, the nation’s marijuana industry is only worth about $100 million (keep in mind, Canada is one-tenth the size of the U.S. in terms of population and GDP).

Industry players are now awaiting provincial legislation on who will be allowed to sell recreational cannabis. To date, 40 marijuana licenses to grow the plan have been granted by Health Canada. Most of these companies are already sanctioned to sell marijuana to patients via mail-order system.  

Marijuana Industry Growth and Future Potential

Perhaps no other industry has languished from pent-up demand more than marijuana. In the United States, the plant has been outlawed at the federal level since 1937. That’s 80 years of pent-up demand being met by the black market. During this period, there were few investment opportunities up until the recent growth of medical marijuana companies.

In just one year, marijuana has gone from an obscure and esoteric industry to a multi-billion-dollar enterprise that has resulted in the very first exchange-traded fund (ETF) being issued. The Horizons Medical Marijuana Life Sciences ETF (HMMJ) began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange in April, ushering a new era for marijuana investments.

According to Arcview Market Research, revenues from legal marijuana sales reached $6.7 billion in 2016, an increase of 30% from 2015. Sales should rise at a CAGR of 25% through 2021 to reach $20.2 billion.[3] All this, and only around half of U.S. states have legalized marijuana to some degree. Analysts say that only broadband internet and cable television had a bigger growth trajectory than cannabis. 

In Canada, legalized recreational weed could ignite a nearly $9 billion industry, eclipsing the combined sale of beer, wine and spirits, according to Deloitte. An estimated 600,000 kilograms (more than 1.3 million pounds) of weed will need to be produced to meet the expected demand. That’s far more than the country’s existing licensed producers are capable of growing for medicinal uses.

Clearly, there’s plenty of reason to be bullish on marijuana. The industry is already drawing parallels to the dot-com era, which provided value investors with a rare opportunity to generate enormous wealth in an extremely short period.

How to Invest in Marijuana

In terms of growth, very few industries can compare to cannabis. Like other industries, the leading marijuana companies can be bought and sold as stocks on the open market. In North America, these stocks can be found on the Nasdaq, Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange and U.S. Over-the-Counter (OTC) market. Marijuana stocks traded Over-The-Counter contain the following symbol: OTCMKTS.

OTC is a decentralized market where investors can trade with one another through email, telephone and other electronic means. In an OTC environment, the dealer acts as the market maker by quoting prices at which they are willing to buy or sell a particular stock. An OTC trade can be carried out without others being aware of the price at which the transaction was made.[4]

Investors who wish to access OTC securities must open an account with a broker that allows Over-The-Counter trading. Since OTC securities are unlisted, there is no central exchange governing the market. This essentially means that all OTC trades must be placed through market makers, a type of broker-dealer firm that competes for customer orders. Typically, OTC securities can be traded on either a discount brokerage or full-service brokerage, including online trading accounts.

Just about any type of pharmaceutical or marijuana stock can trade on the OTC market. OTC provides access to companies ranging from large-cap conglomerates to small and micro-cap growth companies. Since most marijuana stocks are still in the early-stage or developmental phase, they typically do not qualify for the OTCQX Venture Market, which is the home of OTC stocks that are generally considered to be higher quality investments.

Companies listed in the OTCQB exchange are current in their reporting to a major regulator and have greater information availability to investors. Companies that are listed under the Venture Exchange have a green checkmark on the official OTC website indicating their information is verified. “Verified” securities are those whose profile has been confirmed by a representative of the OTCQB within the last six months. A growing number of marijuana companies have already made their way to the OTCQB.

It should also be noted that although investing in OTC stocks is more accessible than ever before, this avenue is considered riskier than conventional exchanges. That’s because many of the companies on the unlisted exchanges are very small, making them prone to wild fluctuations and added volatility. These characteristics define most marijuana stocks regardless of the exchange in which they are listed.

Investors trading marijuana stocks Over-The-Counter or through a conventional exchange should generally avoid companies with very little information. These companies may be extremely illiquid, thereby adding unnecessary risk to your portfolio.[5]

The Marijuana Index

The Marijuana Index is one of the easiest ways for investors to keep track of North America’s most prominent cannabis companies. The index and its subcomponents track the leading stocks operating in the legal cannabis industry in the United States and Canada. Naturally, the index is divided into two country sub-indexes: the U.S. Marijuana Index and the Canadian Marijuana Index. Each company tracked is assigned to either index, depending on the location of their primary business operations.

All three indexes began trading January 2, 2015, and were given an inception value of 100.00 points. The Marijuana Index is equal-weighted, which means each stock is granted the same importance as others in the basket. This is also the case for the U.S. and Canadian sub-indexes. The indexes are rebalanced on a quarterly basis on the last day of March, June, September and December.

As of Oct. 25, 2017, there were 311 companies listed in the Marijuana Stock Universe.

The U.S. Marijuana Index is an equal-weighted benchmark of the country’s top-20 cannabis companies. These companies, and their associated symbol, are presented below:

Name Symbol Market Cap
Terra Tech Corp TRTC 120.96m
Surna Inc SRNA 19.53m
Solis Tek Inc SLTK 42.03m
MariMed Inc MRMD 60.43m
Marapharm Ventures Inc MDM:CNX 85.39m
MCIG Inc MCIG 55.76m
Kush Bottles Inc KSHB 108.87m
Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. IIPR 68.40m
GW Pharmaceuticals Plc GWPH 2.62b
GrowGeneration Corp GRWG 25.83m
Golden Leaf Holdings Ltd GLH:CNX 62.82m
CV Sciences Inc. CVSI 19.31m
CannaRoyalty Corp CRZ:CNX 123.75m
Cannabics Pharmaceuticals Inc CNBX 79.01m
Cannabis Sativa Inc CBDS 55.60m
The Canadian Bioceutical Corporation BCC:CNX 111.98m
Axim Biotechnologies Inc AXIM 323.83m

The Canadian Marijuana Index is a gauge of ten of the top-twelve marijuana stocks traded in Canada. This list includes:

Name Symbol Market Cap
Canopy Growth Corporation WEED:CA 2.23b
CannTrust Holdings Inc. TRST:CNX 393.49m
The Hydropothecary Corporation THCX:CA 158.72m
Tetra Bio-Pharma Inc. TBP:CA 77.01m
OrganiGram Holdings Inc OGI:CA 306.57m
Namaste Technologies Inc N:CNX 40.65m
Cronos Group Inc. MJN:CA 445.70m
Maricann Group Inc. MARI:CNX 101.31m
MedReleaf Corp. LEAF:CA 1.04b
Newstrike Resources Ltd. HIP:CA 128.55m
Supreme Pharmaceuticals Inc. FIRE:CA 271.94m
Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc. EMH:CA 137.03m
Emblem Corp EMC:CA 118.86m
CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. CMED:CA 262.08m
Cannabis Wheaton Income Corp. CBW:CA 205.06m
Aphria Inc. APH:CA 958.33m
Aurora Cannabis Inc. ACB:CA 1.09b
Abcann Global Corporation ABCN:CA 110.59m

An Introduction to Marijuana Industries

The marijuana industry is more diverse than it appears at the surface. Although weed growers continue to receive most of the headlines, the industry features a large cross-section of businesses that span nearly a dozen sectors. In the following, we introduce investors to 11 industries operating within the broader marijuana sector (source: The Marijuana Index).

Agricultural Technology: The Agricultural Technology industry includes companies that contribute to the production and cultivation of marijuana by providing technologies, equipment and supplies to grower operations. Companies: Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (SMG), Zerez Holdings (ZRZH), Solis Tek Inc. (SLTK)

Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology: The Pharmaceutical/Biotechnology industry accounts for businesses focused on the research and development of pharmaceutical drugs and products involving cannabinoids. This industry represents the largest share of the U.S. marijuana market. Companies: GW Pharmaceuticals Plc (GHPH), Insys Therapeutics Inc. (INSY), Axim Biotechnologies Inc. (AXIM).

Consumption Devices: The Consumption Devices industry includes companies involved in developing and selling personal consumption devices, such as inhalers, for consumers of cannabis. Companies: Namaste Technologies Inc. (N:CNX), Wildflower Marijuana Inc. (SUN:CNX), Wildflower Marijuana Inc. (WLDFF).

Cultivation and Retail: Cultivation and Retail includes companies that grow and sell marijuana plants and related products. In Canada, this industry is dominated by licensed producers. Companies: Canopy Growth Corporation (WEED:CA), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB:CA), Cronos Group Inc. (APHQF).

Hemp Products: The Hemp Products industry is primarily concerned with the production and sale of hemp and related products. Hemp is a member of the same plant species as cannabis, but has a lower concentration of THG and a higher concentration of non-psychoactive compounds. This makes it suitable for various products, such as paper, textiles and clothing. Companies: Medical Marijuana Inc. (MJNA), Earth Sciences Tech Inc. (ETST), Lexaria Bioscience Corp (LXX:CNX).

Investing and Finance: Companies involved in the investment and finance of cannabis, such as holding companies and asset managers, are also part of the dynamic marijuana sector. Companies: CannaRoyalty Corp (CRZ:CNX), First Harvest Corp (HVST), Amfil Technologies Inc. (AMFE).

Marijuana Products: The Marijuana Products industry is comprised of companies that are involved in the development and sale of marijuana-infused products, such as drinks, oils and lotions. Companies: Cannabis Sativa Inc. (CBDS), Radient Technologies Inc. (RTI:CA), Lifestyle Delivery Systems Inc. (LDS:CNX).

Other Ancillary: This industry consists of companies that contribute to the broader cannabis industry and that do not fit any of the other categories. Examples include companies that produce breathalyzers and testing kits, cannabis clinics and marijuana vending machine developers. Companies: Canada House Wellness Group Inc. (CHV:CNX), Cannabix Technologies Inc. (BLO:CNX), Lifeloc Technologies Inc. (LCTC).

Real Estate: Companies that develop, own or lease commercial property for the purpose of cannabis business are part of the marijuana Real Estate industry. Companies: Praetorian Property Inc. (PRRE), Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. (IIPR), Grow Condos Inc. (GRWC).

Secondary Services: The Secondary Services industry consists of businesses that provide general consulting and business services to marijuana growers and retailers. Consulting services include market research, business development, branding and logistics. Companies: Cannagrow Holdings Inc. (CGRW), Novus Acquisition and Development Corp (NDEV), Americann Inc. (ACAN).

Technology and Media: The Technology and Media industry includes companies that provide software and media solutions to cannabis businesses and consumers. These services include enterprise software, e-commerce services and trading platforms for cannabis companies. Companies: Helix TCS Inc. (HLIX), Eco Science Solutions Inc. (ESSI), Bang Holdings Corp (BXNG).

Despite all the promise of recreational weed, most viable marijuana investments are concentrated in the medical biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry – at least for now. Investors looking for an immediate impact on their portfolio are more likely to succeed with a medical grower.

However, recreational weed is expected to be a huge money maker in the not-too-distant future. Favorable government policies, steadily growing public support and a burgeoning grower industry make recreational marijuana a promising enterprise across North America.

How to Build a Green Portfolio

Many of the same strategies involved in building a traditional stock portfolio also apply to the marijuana sector. Things like asset allocation, long-term strategy and deep fundamental analysis are critical for long-term success. At the same time, however, the marijuana industry has several unique features that investors need to grasp.

For starters, the marijuana industry is inundated with speculative investments and overhyped stocks that don’t actually have a viable business model. This isn’t always apparent when one looks at the relative success of marijuana stocks. This means many marijuana investments are overvalued.

Marijuana stocks are also highly volatile. After surging to record highs following legalization, many leading stocks found themselves in the doldrums in the first quarter as political uncertainty undermined confidence in the industry.

Against this backdrop, the following strategy is likely to yield the best outcome for investing in this rapidly growing sector.

1. Diversification is key

Diversification is the cornerstone of investing. For a sector like marijuana, where picking winners and losers isn’t easy, diversification carries even greater significance. Right now, there are over 250 stocks in the marijuana sector. Among them are future billion-dollar companies as well as duds that will eventually file for bankruptcy. A diversified portfolio of marijuana securities is therefore necessary to survive what could be a volatile few years for the sector.

2. Gain indirect exposure

There are both direct and indirect ways to gain exposure to a sector. Although most marijuana enthusiasts are rushing to growers and retailers, they should also consider other companies in the value chain that make the business possible in the first place. These companies are certainly benefiting from marijuana, but are not tied to it and thus won’t go bust if the sector hits a snag.

A company like Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG) provides the type of indirect exposure our portfolio needs to survive volatile turns in the market cycle. SMG is not a marijuana stock, but provides specialty fertilizer and supplies to the pot industry. In other words, it is benefiting from the sector’s growth without being completely tied to it.

3. Conduct fundamental analysis

There are a lot of cool sounding marijuana stocks at play right now, but that shouldn’t be your criteria for investing. Nor should you rely on a hunch for picking a winner in a sector prone to wild price fluctuations. Remember: you are not picking from the S&P 500, but from a batch of companies that have an extremely limited track record in the market.

You should therefore come to terms with the stock’s intrinsic value (i.e., what it’s really worth). This means reviewing its business model, profitability, revenue, return on equity and overall growth strategy. In other words, read the stock’s financial statement carefully.  

4. Don’t wait for a pullback to enter the market

Cannabis stocks may be volatile, but that doesn’t mean you should wait for a pullback before you invest. Although this is a common strategy investors employ, it rarely pays off. It may be painful to buy a share at 52-week highs, but it’s even worse to watch that company defy your expectations of a pullback.[6] The good news is marijuana investments are still new, so the good ones still have a long way to go before they reach their ceiling.  

5. Develop a long-term plan

It’s perfectly acceptable to allocate a certain portion of your portfolio to speculation (i.e., choosing stocks you believe can be bought now and sold at a substantial gain later on). However, your overall portfolio strategy should be based on long-term objectives. This is the only true way to maximize investment success.

As a nascent industry, marijuana offers plenty of long-term growth. There’s lots of reasons to be bullish over its long-term prospects. This alone should deter investors from being too short-sighted with their cannabis portfolio strategy.

6. Know that you’re investing in an industry with top notch growth

The reason many people enter the cannabis market is the realization they may be investing in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Legalization is long overdue, and pent-up demand is not like anything we’ve ever seen. This has been clearly reflected in the industry’s rapid acceleration in such a short period. The growth and widespread adoption of legal cannabis in all its forms should serve as a motivator for investors looking to tap into this sector.

Legalization and the Future of Marijuana Investments  

Marijuana legalization across much of North America is a paradigm shift both in terms of public consciousness and public policy. Although the path forward will be riddled with uncertainty, the general trend is leaning toward looser regulation of recreational cannabis and increased support for medical research.

The marijuana sector is booming right now, but is trading at only a fraction of its full potential. The huge sales numbers we saw in 2016 are likely a sign of things to come, as the sector benefits from surging demand and growing mainstream acceptance of cannabis use. These factors could drive the next bull market in the marijuana industry – one that could rival the the dot-com boom.

From an investment perspective, cannabis stocks can still be had for relatively cheap. Like any breakout industry, there are a lot of duds out there trying to capitalize on the momentum. But there’s plenty of solid picks with fantastic growth prospects for investors with a little courage and a lot of patience.

Sources

[1] Trey Williams (February 12, 2017). “Marijuana tax revenue hits $200 million in Colorado as sales pass $1 billion.” MarketWatch.

[2] Debra Borchardt (April 13, 2017). “Canada Take Big Steps Towards Creating $8 Billion Legal Marijuana Industry.” Forbes.

[3] Debra Borchardt (January 3, 2017). “Marijuana Sales Totaled $6.7 Billion In 2016.” Forbes.

[4] Investopedia. Over-The-Counter Market.

[5] Kesavan Balasubramaniam. “How do I buy an over-the-counter stock?” Investopedia.

[6] Jeremy Lutz (March 2, 2017). “7 Essential Tips To Succeed With Cannabis Stocks.” Ino.com.

Important: Never invest money you can't afford to lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here.



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ETFs

Three Country Exchange Traded Funds Offer Potential For Investors

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Country exchange traded funds (ETFs) that invest in specific countries’ stocks offer a way to gain exposure to foreign equities, according to Investopedia. The funds can include alternative investments, foreign currencies and commodities.

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Three such country ETFs have demonstrated strong uptrend over a long term but have experienced recent pullbacks, providing an opportunity to get in before the next upside wave begins. This obviously assumes the uptrend will continue, but in these cases, signs of weakness have been small.

iShares MSCI Taiwan Capped ETF (EWT)

Source: Investopedia

iShares MSCI Taiwan Capped ETF (EWT) has been steadily rising all year. In June, shares hit a 52-week high, and shares were up roughly 38.7% from their 52-week low price of $26.38 per share.

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After hitting a high of $37.49 on Aug. 8, the price fell near $36. If the price rallies above this mark, traders should consider a purchase. At the same time, if the price falls in the short term, traders could consider buying between $36 and $35.60.

The next upside target is $37.75 – the top of the channel. Traders could place a stop/loss order under the most recent low swing just prior to entry. If, for example, the price rises over $36.50, the most recent swing low would be $35.96. If it keeps falling in the short term, the most recent swing low would be $35.30.

EWT invests its assets in 92 securities, focusing on the Taiwanese equity market. However, with more than a fifth of the total exposure on a single company, Taiwan Semiconductor, EWT has a concentration risk.

Hon Hai Precision Industry takes up the second position in the portfolio with a 10.11% share. The rest of the stocks do not comprise more than 2.78% of the fund.

EWT relies strongly on information technology (57.8%), financials (16.8%) and materials (9.4%). It has an expense ratio of 64 basis points

Business optimism remains high in Asia. This, combined with a gain in tech shares, created a positive situation for the fund. Bullishness on the fundamentals of Hon Hai Precision Industry and Taiwan Semiconductor sent Taiwan shares to a 27-year high.

Wisdom Tree India Earnings Fund (EPI)

Source: Investopedia

Wisdom Tree India Earnings Fund has experienced a strong uptrend since early 2017. After reaching a $26.90 high on Aug. 7, the price fell back to the rising trendline at $25.30. The price has already moved from the trendline area, trading at $26.10 on Aug. 16.

Patience is needed in allowing the price to move closer to the trendline before making a purchase. Should the price fall near $25, a stop/loss could be put below $24.20. The upside target is $27.30, which is above the former high.

EPI, with $1.7 billion, is more than nine years old and one of the biggest U.S.-listed India ETFs. EPI year to date is up 26.3%, an advantage of 620 basis points above the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

India’s economic potential as the world’s biggest democracy and second largest country by population after China has long been heralded. That potential, as measured by EPI, will come to fruition and could continue to do so for several years to come.

Ridham Desai, head of research for Indian equities at Morgan Stanley, said the economic and earnings growth cycle is improving and should support earnings per share growth of 20% per year for the next five years.

During 2003 to 2008, the last major growth cycle, earnings compounded at 39% per year, according to the fund. EPI only holds profitable Indian companies. Its underlying index weights components are based on earnings before its index rebalance, which is a unique strategy among legacy India ETFs.

Historically, Indian stocks are volatile than broader emerging markets benchmarks. EPI, however, has a track record of superior risk adjusted returns. In the last three years, EPI has been 200 basis points more volatile than the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. The ETF is nonetheless up 17.9% over that period compared to 1.2% for the MSCI index.

iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF (EWW)

Source: Investopedia

iShares MSCI Mexico pulled back to its rising trendline in August since reaching a $57.72 high two weeks prior. The trendline intersects slightly below $56, where the price stalled in trading between Aug. 9 and Aug. 11.

By Aug. 16, the price traded at $57.11. It will take patience to see if another purchasing opportunity arrives near $56. Whether or not another opportunity occurs, upside target is $59 to $59.50. A stop/loss could be put beneath the recent low of $55.47, but it might make sense to give the trade more room should the price fall back to the entry point and wiggles for a week or two, which often happens.

In addition to concerns about the impact of the U.S. presidency on Mexican stocks, EWW flailed last year because the peso fell. However, EWW is not a currency-hedged ETF, meaning there is no mechanism by which the ETF can benefit from the dollar strengthening against the peso.

While Mexico’s economy is largely export driven, because EWW not currency hedged, a falling peso does not benefit investors in this ETF. With the peso now one of this year’s best performing emerging markets currencies, EWW is benefiting.

Traders see more upside to the Mexican peso. Bloomberg reported that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission reported professional traders are bullish on the peso for the first time since May. There was a fund dedicated to the peso at one time, but it was shuttered years ago, leaving EWW as the most direct play on the Mexican currency.

EWW often trades at a premium to broader emerging market benchmarks. It holds 62 stocks. More than 45 percent of the fund’s lineup is in consumer staples and financial services.

Some of the bullishness this year can be credited to financial markets realizing that Trump is the U.S. president and despite his campaign rhetoric aimed at Mexico, the two countries’ relationship is mostly unchanged at the moment.

EWW and Mexican stocks are not fully in the clear. A Trump effort to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement poses a possible risk. However, any trade talks are likely to include a push by Mexico to keep the peso stable.

These three country ETFs have exhibited strong uptrends, and there is no significant evidence to suggest the uptrends are over yet. Hence, the pullbacks present buying opportunities. When the price falls back to a trendline, it is a potential trade area, but traders need to be sure the possible reward outweighs the risk and they aren’t attempting to catch a “falling knife.”

EPI, for instance, experienced a hefty fall during the pullback, which is cause for concern. But if the price drops again and stabilizes near the trendline, the selling could lose momentum. This is positive for the bulls. In all trading, one can only put the odds in their favor and risk a small portion of account capital on any single trade.

Important: Never invest money you can't afford to lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here.



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Biotech And Industrial Metals Top Penny Stocks To Watch For August

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Leading market benchmarks hit new highs in July, generating interest in small-cap stocks and low-priced securities for August, according to the Investopedia penny stocks to watch for August.

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Suffering sectors like industrial metals and brick-and-mortar retailers also perked up, driving swing traders and bottom feeders into the market. Such developments bode well for penny stocks in the near-term, even though traders have to recognize higher than average risk.

Biotech stocks performed well during the month as major sector funds broke out of basing patterns set in 2015. The strength of biotechs signals the start of secular uptrends that should support rallies at all capitalization levels in the next few months.

Four of this month’s stocks return from the previous two months while the balance are newcomers.

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1. ImmunoGen Inc. (IMGN)

Source: Investopedia

ImmunoGen, Inc. has grown by more than 70% since it joined the penny stock watch list in June, raising odds for double digit growth.

Immunogen, a provider of antibody-drug conjugates for the treatment of cancer, leads the top penny stocks for the second straight month after joining the list in June as the number four top stock to watch.

The stock posted a 12-year high at $20.25 in 2013 and sold off to $5.34 in December 2014. A recovery in 2015 stalled less than a point below the prior peak, creating a decline that continued into an 18-year low at $1.51 in November 2016.

The stock reached a 14-month high above $8.00 in early July. A mid-month pullback dropped the stock into intermediate support at the 50-day EMA, creating a healthy bounce that could now test the prior high, pushing into double digits.

ImmunoGen creates targeted cancer therapeutics. The company’s candidate, mirvetuximab soravtansine, is in a Phase 3 trial for an ovarian cancer, and is in Phase 1b/2 testing in combination regimens for an earlier-stage disease.

The technology is used in Roche’s Kadcyla, in three other clinical-stage ImmunoGen product candidates, and in programs in development by Amgen, Bayer, Biotest, CytomX, Lilly, Novartis, Sanofi and Takeda.

2. RADA Electronic Industries, Ltd. (RADA)

Source: Investopedia

RADA Electronic Industries, Ltd. (RADA), a defense electronics system of advanced electronic systems for airborne and land applications, rose from number 7 in July’s top penny stocks to watch to number two in August.

The stock fell into a multi-decade decline after it joined Nasdaq in the 1990s. It ground out a series of lower highs and lows through January 2016’s all-time 54-cent low. The stock spent 16 months moving sideways in a narrow basing pattern before turning higher in May 2017 and rallying back to 2016 resistance at $1.78. The bullish activity completed a cup and handle breakout pattern that could point to a fast rally into the August 2015 gap between $3.70 and $2.50.

The stock continues to gain strength, targeting the August 2015 gap at $4.24

Revenues totaled $4.7 million in the 2017 first quarter, up 91% compared to revenues of $2.5 million in the first quarter of 2016.

Gross profit totaled $1.7 million in the first 2017 quarter of 2017, a gross margin of 35.7%, compared to gross profit of $6,000 (gross margin of 0.2%) in the 2016 first quarter.

Operating income was $0.4 million in the first 2017 quarter compared to an operating loss of $1 million in the 2016 first quarter.

Net income attributable to RADA’s shareholders in the 2017 first quarter was $0.4 million, $0.02 per share, versus a net loss of $1.8 million, or $0.23 per share, in the 2016 first quarter.

3. 22nd Century Group, Inc. (XXII)

Source: Investopedia

22nd Century Group, Inc., a plant biotechnology company that is a provider of tobacco harm reduction and development of proprietary hemp/cannabis strains, rose from the number five spot in July’s top penny stocks to watch to number three in August.

The stock broke out above multi-year resistance near $1.50 in 2013, rallying to a record high a few months later at $6.36. It then began a persistent decline through August 2015 before finding support at 56 cents, followed by a bounce to $1.75.

The stock traded within those boundaries for 22-months, bouncing at support three times and reversing at resistance in equal measure. The price returned to that level a fourth time, improving odds for a breakout that could double the price in the year’s second half.

The stock found support near 70 cents in the second half of the year, testing that level three times ahead of a March 2017 uptick that has now reached ranged resistance. A breakout over $2 should draw strong buying interest favoring a high percentage rally back to its 3-year high.

The stock joined the Russell Microcap Index two months ago, when FTSE Russell reconstituted its U.S. and global equity indexes.

Membership in the Russell Microcap Index signifies automatic inclusion in the value style indexes. FTSE Russell determines membership for its Russell indexes primarily by objective, market-capitalization rankings and style attributes.

22nd Century Group focuses on genetic engineering and plant breeding that allows the increase or decrease of nicotine levels in tobacco plants and cannabinoids levels in cannabis plants. Its primary goal for tobacco is to lessen the harm caused by smoking. The primary goal for cannabis is to develop proprietary hemp/cannabis strains for new medicines and agricultural crops.

4. Ballard Power Systems, Inc. (BLDP)

Source: Investopedia

Ballard Power Systems, Inc. (BLDP), a provider of clean energy products that reduce customer costs and risks, and helps customers solve challenges in their fuel cell programs, rose from the number 10 spot in the July penny stocks to watch to the number four spot in August.

The stock reached an all-time high at $144.95 in 2000 before falling for more than 12 years, reaching an all-time low at 56 cents. A 2013 uptrend continued through 2014, reaching an 8-year high at $8.38, followed by a correction that returned to 2015 resistance at $3.10.

The recovery wave reached new resistance in April 2017, generating a 3-month symmetrical triangle pattern that could yield an uptrend into the prior high.

Total revenue was $22.7 million in the last quarter, an increase of 39% from growth in both power products and technology solutions.

Gross margin was 42% in the quarter, an improvement of 22 points due to a shift in product mix toward higher margin technology solutions and a heavy duty motive for the China market, including the establishment of a production line in Yunfu, China for the manufacture and assembly of FCvelocity-9SSL fuel cell stacks.

Cash operating costs were $10 million in the quarter, a 6% increase due to higher research and product development expenditures as well as a stronger Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar, since a significant amount of cost is denominated in Canadian dollars.

Low-priced biotech stocks have risen following a long slumber, with steady buying interest likely to continue. This group should offer a variety of profitable penny stock plays during the quiet summer trading season, while low-priced stocks in other sectors move into narrow trading ranges.

5. Trilogy Metals, Inc. (TMQ)

Source: Investopedia

Trilogy Metals Inc., which engages in the development and exploration of mineral properties, joins the top penny stocks to watch list this month at number 5. The Vancouver, Canada-based company went public on the U.S. exchanges in April 2012 at $3.20, beginning an immediate downtrend to an all-time low at 15 cents in January 2016. A recovery wave mounted the 200-day EMA at 60 cents that stalled three months later, yielding a narrow basing pattern into a July 2017 recovery that has reached a 2-year high at $1.22.

A pullback to new support in the 80- to 85-cent price range should mark a low-risk buying opportunity, as the upside that could reach $2.

Trilogy Metals Inc. reported a strong working capital position of $20.1 million in the second quarter, with cash on hand of $14.5 million.

For the three months ending May 31, 2017, the company reported a net loss of $2.4 million compared to a net loss of $1.6 million for the corresponding period in 2016. This variance was primarily due to the size of the field programs at the Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects in 2017 as well as the timing of the program.

An increase of $840,000 of mineral property expenses occurred during the three months ended May 31, 2017 compared to the three months ended May 31, 2016. In 2017, the field program at Arctic and Bornite began with drilling by early June compared to 2016 where the field program kicked off in early July. This earlier start resulted in an increased mineral property expense during the second quarter of 2017. Additionally, an increased level of ongoing technical studies was occurring during the three months ended May 31, 2017 compared to the corresponding period in 2016.

The company announced a financial partnership with South32 Limited for an option to form a 50/50 joint venture for a minimum investment of $150 million. South32 is required to fund a minimum of $10 million per year for up to three years to keep the option in good standing. The first $10 million has been advanced to the company and will be spent on a 12,000-meter exploration drill program at the Bornite deposit, which is already underway.

6. Antares Pharma, Inc. (ATRS)

Source: Investopedia

Antares Pharma, Inc., which focuses on self-administered parenteral pharmaceutical products, caught fire after suffering an all-time low at 29 cents in January 2009, then delivering a strong uptrend continuing into the July 2012 all-time high at $5.58. The stock then fell in multiple selling waves that ended at a 6-year low in March 2016.

The subsequent recovery has now completed a round trip into the April 2015 high, retracing half of the multi-year decline. The price has consolidated above $3 for the past three months, establishing the final stage of a 2-year cup and handle pattern targeting the multi-year high.

The company recently reported operating and financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017. The company reported revenue of $13.4 million and a net loss per share of $0.02 for the three months ended June 30, 2017.

Revenue for the three months ending June 30, 2017 was $13.4 million, compared to $12.2 million for the comparable period in 2016. For the six months ended June 30, 2017, total revenue was $25.4 million, versus total revenue of $24.5 million for the six months ended June 30, 2016.

Product sales were $7.3 million for the three months ended June 30, 2017, compared to $8.7 million for the comparable period in 2016, totaling $17.4 million for the six months ended June 30, 2017 compared to $19.5 million in the same period of 2016.

The decrease for the period was primarily driven by a reduction in sales of pre-launch auto injector devices for use with Teva’s generic epinephrine product and reduced sumatriptan product shipments to Teva partially offset by increased sales of OTREXUP.

The company also completed a non-dilutive, 5-year debt financing with Hercules Capital, providing Antares the ability to draw up to $35 million, with the first tranche of $25 million funded upon execution of the agreement.

7. Corindus Vascular Robotics, Inc. (CVRS)

Source: Investopedia

Corindus Vascular Robotics, Inc. topped out near $4.60 in 2015 and began a steep decline in January 2017 when it posted a multi-year low at 40 cents. The stock rebounded on strong volume one month later, marking an uptrend that reached an 18-month high at $2.25 in early July. The stock has been consolidating at new support for the last three weeks, settling on the 50-day EMA while its on-balance volume holds near the rally high. The bullish configuration favors continuing upside that could reach 2015 resistance at $3.

Second quarter revenue was $2.3 million compared to $0.5 million for the same period in the prior year. The increase is due mainly to CorPath GRX Systems and capital upgrade sales.

The company installed three new CorPath GRX Systems in the second quarter, increasing the installed base to 16 systems and the total installed base to 51 systems. The installed base of 16 systems accounted for almost 90% of all CorPath cassettes shipped for revenue in the second quarter.

Gross profit was $58,000 for the second quarter, compared to a loss of $0.6 million for the second quarter of 2016. The cost of revenues for the second quarter continued to include the effect of under-utilization of production facilities as well as the cost of CorPath GRX system upgrades installed pursuant to contractual service arrangements with no corresponding revenue in the period.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $5.9 million, compared to $4.4 million in the second quarter of 2016. The increase is primarily due to higher compensation and travel expenses associated with incremental sales headcount, investment in medical education and international sales initiatives, and incremental non-cash stock-based compensation expense related to the CEO and commercial leadership transitions during 2016.

8. Medical Transcription Billing Corp. (MTBC)

Source: Investopedia

Medical Transcription Billing Corp., a healthcare information technology company that provides proprietary web-based solutions, together with related business services, to healthcare providers practicing in ambulatory care settings, went public at $4.28 in July 2014 and entered a downtrend that continued to the April 2017 all-time low at 29 cents. The stock recovered two sessions later in reaction to positive sales news and topped out at $3.84 in mid-May.

A subsequent pullback has now since reached support at the 200-day EMA near $1.20, with a rally from this level generating buying signals favoring ongoing upside into the second quarter high.

Revenues for second quarter 2017 were $7.8 million, an increase of 49% versus $5.2 million in the same period last year. The increase was mainly due to the MediGain acquisition.

The second quarter 2017 GAAP net loss was $1.7 million, or 22% of revenue, an improvement of $1 million compared to a net loss of $2.7 million in the first quarter 2017. The GAAP net loss in the second quarter 2017 was mostly a result of non-cash amortization and depreciation expenses of $1.5 million.

The second quarter 2017 GAAP operating loss was $1.4 million, or 18% of revenue, which represents an improvement of $1 million or 43% from the $2.4 million operating loss in the prior quarter.

As of June 30, 2017, the company had $5.8 million in cash and a working capital deficiency of approximately $4.1 million.

The company raised gross proceeds of $2.3 million from a registered direct offering of its common stock priced at the market on May 10, 2017. MTBC issued 1 million registered shares of common stock to a healthcare institutional investor at a purchase price of $2.30 per share. Concurrently in a private placement, MTBC issued warrants to purchase up to 2 million shares of its common stock, with an exercise price of $5 per share, which are exercisable through May 15, 2018, and would deliver potential gross proceeds of up to $10 million if exercised.

In addition, the company raised gross proceeds of $7.4 million from the sale of about 295,000 additional shares of its non-convertible Series A Preferred Stock on June 23, 2017.

9. Intrepid Potash, Inc. (IPI)

Source: Investopedia

Intrepid Potash, Inc., the only U.S. producer of muriate of potash, sold off to 2008 support at $13.80 in 2014. Two years later, the stock began a decline that reached an all-time low at 65 cents in March 2016. The stock rose above $1.50 in June before settling in a sideways pattern ahead of a December 2016 breakout that soon stalled at $3.04.

The stock spent the last eight months consolidating its gains and is now testing the rally high. A breakout could generate an uptrend reaching 200-week EMA resistance between $6 and $8.

Intrepid generated a second quarter net loss of $5.9 million, or $0.05 per share, delivering a first half net loss of $19.6 million, or $0.19 per share. This marked an improvement over the net losses of $13.4 million, or $0.18 per share, and $31.8 million or $0.42 per share, in the second quarter and the first half of 2016, respectively.
Improvements in year-over-year net loss per share were driven in part by a gain in outstanding shares from a March 2017 secondary offering.

Consolidated gross margin advanced to $3.7 million and $0.8 million in the second quarter and the first half of 2017, respectively, against the prior year. Improvements were due to lower cost solar potash production and higher average net realized potash pricing that offset lower average net realized sales prices for the product, Trio.

Cash provided by operating activities rose year-over-year to $9.7 million and $11.5 million for the second quarter and the first half of 2017, respectively. Increased cash flow was due to strong spring demand, increased potash prices, and the elimination of costlier conventionally mined potash from the production profile.

10. Tantech Holdings, Ltd. (TANH)

Source: Investopedia

Tantech Holdings, Ltd., a manufacturer bamboo-based charcoal products for industrial energy applications and household cooking, heating, purification, agricultural and cleaning uses, went public at $6.00 in March 2015 and began an uptrend that topped out at $33.97 five months later. In the next three months, the stock relinquished more than 90% of its value. Bears maintained control into the April 2017 all-time low at $1, followed by a recovery that reached a 10-month high in July.

Pricing has tested resistance at the September 2016 breakdown through the October 2015 low, with a buying surge setting the stage for upside in the $6 range.

For the six months ended December 31, 2016, revenues were $24.88 million and net earnings were $2.77 million, according to a June 2017 financial report.

Gross margins widened from 25.02% to 30.33% compared to the same period last year, with EBITDA operating margins 18.28% compared to 18.64% the prior year. Year-on-year change in operating cash flow was 32.02%, about the same as the change in earnings.

Penny stocks require investors to make some guesses about the future. Very few such stocks have a sufficient track record to indicate they will prosper. At the same time, the stocks on this list are in significant industries and have the potential to be vital players in those industries.

Important: Never invest money you can't afford to lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here.



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Bitcoin

Why Investors Should Just Hold Onto Bitcoin and Worry About Bitcoin Cash Later

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On August 1, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), a hard fork proposal led by Chinese bitcoin mining pool ViaBTC, was forked and hours later, ViaBTC mined the first BCH block. BCH, which was initially developed by a bitcoin mining equipment manufacturer, struggled to gain acceptance from the industry, exchanges and businesses. As a result, its market cap has fallen below $5 billion while the bitcoin price has established its new all-time high at $3,163.

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For all bitcoin holders that have had bitcoin on non-custodial wallet platforms have already been credited with BCH. For users on exchanges and custodial platforms, which handle private keys for their clients, each exchange is handling the BCH hard fork differently. Coinbase for instance, the world’s largest wallet platform and the operator of major digital currency exchange GDAX, announced that it will credit BCH to all user accounts by January of 2018.

David Farmer, the director of communications at Coinbase, stated:

“Over the last several days, we’ve examined all of the relevant issues and have decided to work on adding support for bitcoin cash for Coinbase customers. We are planning to have support for bitcoin cash by January 1, 2018, assuming no additional risks emerge during that time. Once supported, customers will be able to withdraw bitcoin cash. We’ll make a determination at a later date about adding trading support. In the meantime, customer bitcoin cash will remain safely stored on Coinbase.”

Many users and investors remain unsatisfied with the decision of Coinbase to credit user accounts with BCH after nearly five months since the initial execution of the BCH hard fork. However, according to bitcoin analysts and experts including Tone Vays and Paxos principal architect Jimmy Song, such precaution is necessary and investors should be extremely careful throughout the process of claiming BCH.

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Vays, a prominent bitcoin trader and well-respected analyst within the cryptocurrency sector, noted that claiming BCH with non-custodial wallet platforms such as hardware wallets, paper wallets and online wallets can impose security risks as they involve private keys of bitcoin wallets. When private keys are exposed, bitcoin can be stolen from users and redirected to external or alternative wallets.

If the Mt. Gox hacking incident is taken for instance, WizSecurity revealed that a hacker working closely with Alexander Vinnick, the owner of now-defunct bitcoin exchange BTC-E, stole the wallet.dat file from the centralized systems of Mt. Gox and like that, $2.21 billion in bitcoin were stolen.

Hence, because the manual claiming process of BCH requires the handling of private keys, investors should instead just hold onto bitcoin, wait for the BCH market to stabilize, more BCH wallets to emerge and then cash out or trade their BCH.

As Vays noted:

“Right now, my backup is pretty secure. I know there is one backup in a Mac that doesn’t turn on, and another back up on a couple of USB thumbdrives. I’m not in a rush to get this bitcoin private key out because right now I know it is safe. The moment I plug this USB drive to some computer, the moment I get it out, the moment I change the wallet.dat file, I bring this bitcoin into the world and that scares me. I’m really keeping my bitcoin private.”

For users and investors that remain unclear and insecure about BCH, all users of bitcoin already have been credited with BCH. The difference between exchanges and non-custodial wallet platforms is that because exchanges control the private keys of users, they control BCH of their users and can decide when to credit them to user accounts. For users on non-custodial wallet platforms, BCH has already been credited.

Another major reason to simply wait until the BCH market stabilizes is that as of current, there exists no legitimate and secure BCH wallet. Thus, when BCH is withdrawn from a wallet or an exchange, there is no alternative BCH wallet that users can utilize apart from exchanges that support BCH/BTC trading to store BCH.

Some leading bitcoin exchanges including U.S.-based Kraken and South Korea’s second largest bitcoin exchange Korbit support BCH/BTC trading and offer wallet services. Trezor, the most popular and widely utilized bitcoin hardware wallet, has also integrated beta BCH wallet for users to withdraw or store their BCH but none of the abovementioned BCH wallets are completely safe as of now.

To sum up, for investors and traders of bitcoin, it will be safer to simply hold onto BCH and wait until the Bitcoin Cash market stabilizes.

Important: Never invest money you can't afford to lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here.



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