The market crash hit the bull market's cult trends like pot and alternative meat hardest

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Some of the hottest stocks of the last couple years have been hit especially hard in this coronavirus market collapse as investors shed all risk taking.

Cult trend stocks of the bull market, such as cannabis and alternative meat, are plunging even more than the rest of the U.S. market. In fact, five of the six stocks with the biggest drops from recent highs fall in those two nascent industries.

These stocks have also been some of the most popular names among young investors, with Beyond Meat and Aurora Cannabis in the past year ranking as the most widely-held stocks by millennials. Crazy trading in speculative stocks is a characteristic of a “late cycle” bull market, which came screeching to a halt just a few weeks ago.

The S&P 500 is down more than 26% from its most recent high. But that’s not nearly as bad as the drops from the record levels by some of the biggest names in cannabis — Tilray is down 96%, Aurora Cannabis is down 93%, Canopy Growth is down 81% and Cronos Group is down 78%. Recent cuts to capacity in Canada have compounded a slowdown in growth for the industry, as Bank of America highlighted a cut by Canopy Growth took away nearly nearly a fifth of the industry’s capacity.

“It’s a big deal, by our estimates the shuttering of ~20% of total Canada licensed production capacity. Importantly, it could spur others to take similar action, as some have feigned recently,” Bank of America said.

The alternative foods company Beyond Meat is another of the hardest hit, having fallen about 73% from highs it hit in the past year. While Argus Research is still bullish on Beyond Meat, with a buy rating, the firm pointed out in a note to investors on Mar. that “Beyond Meat has been volatile in its short trading history.” In its list of risks, Argus noted the company’s lack of profitability.

“Beyond Meat has a history of losses, and may be unable to achieve or sustain profitability going forward. It must also invest to expand manufacturing capacity, and faces significant competition,” Argus said. “It also relies on a small number of distributors, so any disruptions could adversely affect its business.”

The only stock hit harder is U.S. Steel, which has cratered 97% from its 52-week high as it faces mounting losses and widespread layoffs.

— CNBC’s Gina Francolla contributed to this report.

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