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Feb 5, 2019

Cannabis ETF HMMJ retakes billion-dollar mark on stock surge

Aphria shares out of the doldrums

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The New Year’s rally in pot stocks has sent assets in the first marijuana exchange-traded fund back above $1 billion for the first time since Oct. 18, the day after Canada legalized recreational pot.

The Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (HMMJ.TO) reclaimed the $1 billion mark on Monday. Assets in the fund had dipped as low as $624 million on Dec. 21.

The Horizons Marijuana ETF, better known by its ticker HMMJ, was the first exchange-traded fund to track the cannabis industry but it’s no longer the biggest. That honor belongs to the U.S.-based ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ.N), which surpassed US$1 billion in assets this week for the first time.

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Pot stocks have been climbing steadily since their Christmas Eve low, with HMMJ up 56 per cent and the ETFMG fund up 58 per cent since the close on Dec. 24. Both are still well below their highs, however. HMMJ was trading at $21.63 at 11:30 a.m. in Toronto, 20 per cent below below its Oct. 16 high of $27.

The rally comes amid potential political catalysts in the U.S., including a statement from Attorney General nominee William Barr that he’ll respect state marijuana laws, and ahead of the first post-legalization earnings next week from major cannabis producers Canopy Growth Corp. and Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.TO). Pot stocks have also gotten a boost from broader market optimism, with Canada’s S&P/TSX Composite Index up nearly 10 per cent this year.

Cannabis Canada is BNN Bloomberg’s in-depth series exploring the stunning formation of the entirely new — and controversial — Canadian recreational marijuana industry. Read more from the special series here and subscribe to our Cannabis Canada newsletter to have the latest marijuana news delivered directly to your inbox every day.

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