Jefferies downgraded Aurora Cannabis Inc. stock (ACB.T) on Friday to underperform from hold and said the recent re-rating following better-than-expected earnings was neither justified nor sustainable. Aurora shares have gained 110% in the month to date, after rallying hard following last week's earnings report (). "We think near-term sales and GM (gross margin) headwinds are not fully appreciated, while celebrating a hiatus on further dilution is short-sighted, it (is) inevitably returning again when the balance sheet is addressed," analyst Owen Bennett wrote in a note to clients. "Still set-up well longer-term but we see give back in the price over the next few quarters as likely." The analyst raised his stock price target to C$14 ($9.99) from C$12, to include estimates for Reliva, the U.S. CBD company that Aurora has acquired this week in an all-stock transaction ( ). "Aurora's ex-COO once described US entry as non-negotiable. We agree, though we do view this particular deal/timing as strange," Bennett wrote. "There is still no permanent CEO to lead this CBD push, the CBD space is experiencing significant headwinds currently, there is further dilution at a questionable multiple which has been a criticism of the past, and the B/S (balance sheet) does not afford investment behind the purchase." Aurora's U.S.-listed shares were down 4% premarket and are down 33% in the year to date, while the Cannabis ETF (THCX) has fallen 18% and the S&P 500 has fallen 9%.
-Ciara Linnane; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 22, 2020 06:53 ET (10:53 GMT)
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