Cowen analyst Vivien Azer initiated coverage Friday of five multi-state cannabis operators, saying she’s bullish on those that rely on the consumer packaged goods model given the higher margins, especially relative to those relying on the retail model. Azer started Green Thumb Industries Inc. at outperform with a stock price target of $18.50, Curaleaf Holdings Inc. at outperform with a $10.50 target, and Cresco Labs Inc. at outperform with a $14 target. “We believe that the greatest shareholder value will be created through businesses that emulate a traditional CPG finished goods model, given its superior margin structure,” Azer wrote in a note to clients. Meanwhile, Azer started MedMen Enterprises Inc. at underperform with a $1.50 price target. “[MedMen] is the clear leader in the [California] market, with a distinguished brand, reflecting an attractive retail concept,” Azer wrote. “However, to us, retail is less attractive than wholesale. And, an over-reliance on retail revenues today, coupled with excessive spending and notable management turnover, make this a’show-me’ story.” Azer also started Acreage Holdings Inc. at market perform with a $9 target, saying consolidation a of a “disparate network of dispensaries” and launching a “nascent brand strategy” could prove challenging. The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF was up 0.4% in afternoon trading, but has lost 28.7% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 has gained 3.5% in three months.
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