Cannabis company stock surges after winning POT symbol

The company won a random lottery to use the catchy stock ticker

Mature cannabis plants are shown in Fenwick, Ontario on June 26, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin)

The winner of the POT stock ticker lottery may already be benefiting from the buzz around its new symbol as shares of cannabis company Weekend Unlimited Inc. surged by as much as 70 per cent in the wake of its win.

Shares of Weekend, which trades as YOLO, soared as high as $0.20 on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Friday, marking a big jump from its previous close of $0.115.

By midday, its stock was trading at $0.195, up roughly 70 per cent from the previous day.

READ MORE: Undisclosed company wins POT stock ticker lottery, says TMX Group

The stock surge on Friday comes as Weekend announced it was selected out of 40 interested parties in a random lottery conducted by several exchanges for the right to use the catchy symbol. The company, which has a suite of cannabis-focused brands and operations in Canada and in U.S. states where legal, plans to do the moniker changeover on Monday, subject to CSE confirmation.

The win was a “wonderful surprise” and hopefully will boost the small company’s profile, said Weekend’s chief executive Paul Chu.

“I’ve never won the lottery, so this is a first… This is our lucky day,” he said.

The lottery was held by the Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, along with the Canadian Securities Exchange and the Aequitas NEO Exchange, due to “significant demand” for the ticker.

POT became available after Potash Corp. merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018 to become Nutrien Ltd., which now trades under NTR.

Weekend has a relatively small market value of $43.57 million, as of midday Friday at $0.195 per share. That’s up significantly from $28.6 million a day earlier, based on Thursday’s closing price of $0.115. For comparison, licensed producer Canopy Growth Corp. has a market capitalization of roughly $22 billion.

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Weekend began trading on the CSE in October after a reverse takeover. It sells products to dispensaries in the U.S. but is also in the midst of preparing to launch a legal recreational cannabis store in Alberta, Chu said.

Several pot industry companies hold memorable symbols. Canopy changed its symbol from CGC to WEED on the TSX in 2017. Newstrike Brands Limited, a cannabis producer partly owned by rock band The Tragically Hip, trades as HIP on the TSX Venture Exchange. Licensed producer Invictus MD Strategies Corp. brought in Kiss bassist Gene Simmons as its chief evangelist officer and trades as GENE on the CSE.

These symbols are certainly easier to remember, but a study published in the Journal of Financial Markets in 2016 found stocks do benefit from the likability or pronounceability of a stock ticker. The researchers found that the ratings of tickers that were rated as likable or more easier to say were positively-related to the stock valuation.

Weekend’s ticker YOLO, which stands for “you only live once,” was already easy to remember and pronounce.

However, the phrase may resonate more with younger generations and doesn’t have the broad appeal of POT, Chu said.

“POT really hits home who we are as a company,” he said.

Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Press


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