JSE: Moderate gains

Tuesday, 20th August 2013 | The market closed off today as stocks of 28 companies traded with a volume of 3.69 million valued at $20.57 million. There were 8 stocks advancing and 10 declining as all the indices gained moderately except for the junior market. The cross listed had no trades.

The All Jamaica Index gained 533.18 points and closed at 85,994.08 and the JSE Market Index increased by 303.03 to close at 85,676.88 the Junior Market closed down by 15.33 closing at 794.11.

Main market | Cable & Wireless traded 401,991 units firm at 15 cents, Carreras had 50,460 units changing hands at $49.10 valued at $2.478 million, Caribbean Cement accounted for 75,913 as the stock traded as high as $2.50 before it closed at $2.22, up 12 cents, Desnoes & Geddes traded 386,000 units valued at $1.74 million and lost 2 cents to close at $4.50, Grace Kennedy traded 6,050 units lost 4 cents to close at $56.95, Jamaica Money Market Brokers saw 577,150 units changing hands valued at $4.9 million and closed at $8 down 10 cents for the day. National Commercial Bank 29,696 shares traded with a closing price of $18.51, down 5 cents. Pan Jamaican Investment Trust had just 7,539 units trading firm at $51.10. Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited 7,720 saw trading at $9, which is down 50 cents from Monday’s traded price but the offer at the end of trading was $8.45 for 26,000 units. Scotia Group had one of the largest trades in monetary terms as 299,551 units changed hands at a closing price of $21.01 to cost $6.37 million, the stock traded firm.

JSEIndicesAug20Junior market | Trading picked up in the junior market on Tuesday with the Lasco companies picking up in volume as profit taking in the shares appears to be ending while demand is returning for them. Consolidated Bakeries traded 354,230 units, the most since June 28 and closed at $41.41, up a cent. Blue Power traded up to $9.60 but closed at $9.21, up 3 cents in trading 36,100 units. The company posted improved quarterly results yesterday and investors seemed to have been responding positively to them. Cargo Handlers closed at $13, up 38 cents in trading 3,000 units, Dolphin Cove lost 80 cents in late trading to close at $8.20 with only 1,200 shares trading. Lasco Distributors closed at $1.46 in trading  574,199 units, Lasco Financial Services traded 376,901 firm at $1.52, Lasco Manufacturing closed at $1.59, down a cent in trading  379,616 units.

IC bid-offer Indicator | At the end of trading, the Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator shows that bids for 1 stock was higher with 2 stocks having offers lower than their last selling price. This is the weakest this signal has been since we started tracking and suggests a ‘sideways market’ at this time.

Related posts | Blue Power profit up 20%

TTSE: Trinidad Cement still holds sway

Tuesday, 20th August 2013 | Trinidad Cement stock price has more than doubled since late June. Yet it continues to be in demand as the stock led today’s trading with 455,377 units changing hands valued at $884,472. The stock traded firm at $1.95. Scotiabank Trinidad & Tobago with a volume of 113,314 shares accounted for the bulk of money invested in the market amounting to $7,931,980 as the stock closed firm at $70.

Trading in the market remained moderate with the stocks of 9 companies changing hands, with 3 advancing, 2 declining and 4 trading firm resulting in a volume of 700,215 shares crossing the floor of the Exchange valued at $9,269,574.

Scotia Investments Jamaica, contributed 69,392 shares with a value of $142,155 as it put on 1 cent to close at $2.03 but traded as high as $2.05, while Grace Kennedy added 33,692 shares valued at $111,288 while losing 9 cents to close at $3.30. National Flour traded 20,140 firm at 70 cents.

TTSEAug20Unilever Caribbean with a mere 500 units trading gained $0.23 to end the day at $55.25 as the bid at the end of trading was at $55.28 for 1,000 shares. Clico Investment Fund, posted a volume of 5,300 shares valued at $112,890 and declined by 20 cents to end at $21.30.

JMMB did not trade on Tuesday but had a bid for 458,940 units at 50 cents the same as Monday’s last traded price and an offer of 143,000 units at 57 cents.

IC bid-offer Indicator| At the end of trading, the Investor’s Choice bid-offer market sentiment indicator shows that bids for 3 stocks were higher with 2 stocks having offers lower than their last selling price.

Exports push Jamaican Teas’ profit

A strong 70.6% increase in exports for the nine months to June helped in pushing profit at Jamaican Teas up to $75.3 million or 16 percent when compared to $64.8 million for the similar period of the prior year.

Export sales accounted for 52 percent of the total manufacturing sales for the latest quarter. The improvement in exports was driven mainly by increases in sales to the USA and Trinidad. Results for the June quarter were not as strong as the prior two quarters with an increase of 9.5 percent to $24 million as local sales slipped marginally compared to $22 million in the comparative period in 2012. While the growth in profit for the year may not appear impressive, the quality is far better as there was a large $13 million swing in earnings reported from gains on investments in 2012 resulting from a $10 million gain in 2012. While there was a $3 million loss this year, the net amount is partially offset by a $5 million gain from exchange rate movement.

The group recorded improvement in sales for the first nine months of the financial year, increasing by 34.5 percent to $783 million versus $582 million in the prior year. Improved sales was due to healthy increases in both export and supermarket sales, including the newest supermarket in Sav-La-mar, which was acquired by the company in March 2012.

The supermarkets also contributed to the bottom-line improvements which helped the improvement in revenues and profits. The results do not yet reflect sales from the completed real estate development which the group expect to be reflected in the final quarter of the fiscal year in September.

Image from Behance.net

Image from Behance.net

Associated company | The company’s jointly owned supermarket in Montego Bay, continues to show improvement but has not shown profit to date. Sales in the quarter rose 11% above the similar period of 2012. Management stated, “We enjoyed an encouraging improvement in sales since the start of the quarter pushing us closer to a break even position. Our share of the loss is $2 million in the latest quarter which includes an adjustment of $640,000 to deferred tax asset to reflect the reduction in tax rate from 33 1/3 percent.”

Investment | The company has short and long term investments of $142 million which includes $76 million of quoted equities.

Going forward | There are good indications that the final quarter should be better than that for 2012. In the 2012 final quarter, a large an impairment loss on investments of $9.3 million had to be made. In this year, the situation might swing in the other direction with the booking of the sales of the apartments. Beyond the September year end, the purchase of a property in St. Thomas should start to contribute to profits from the housing development for 72 two-bedroom single family homes.

Regarding another property purchase, management reported that, “The company will be moving the manufacturing operations to a new facility by the end of 2013, it has adequate space for our operations now and for the foreseeable future. While there may be no savings from this move, it is not expected to cost more than the current rental for the existing space. Ownership will result in savings going forward as inflation drives up rental rates.”

Financial position |The group continues to maintain a healthy financial position with good cash flows, adequate bank credit facilities and investments. Receivables increased by $41 million, which is due to a significant increase in exports that have longer credit terms. Management further stated that, “All the short and long term loans will be cleared subsequent to the quarter end from longer term loans and proceeds from the sale of the apartments. The company recently announced plans to issue $200 million of Corporate Bonds with attractive features for the investor including the fact that interest will be paid monthly and will be traded on the Jamaica Stock Exchange. The funds will be used to pay off more expensive debt and assist with funding our next real estate development. We have also obtained medium term financing from Bank of Nova Scotia for funding of the Bell Road property acquisition.”

Related posts | Jamaican Teas expands property arm | Jamaican Teas buys property | Profits up 19% at Jamaican Teas | Is the real estate market bullish?

Economy probably contracted 2.5% in Q2

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Data out of Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) suggest the economy probably contracted by as much as 2.5 percent in the June quarter compared to the same period last year. According to JPS in its June 2013 quarterly report, the amount of electricity sales net of energy costs fell by 16 percent compared with the same quarter last year. Over the same time the exchange rate for the Jamaican dollar fell by 13.6 percent. JPS reports their accounts in US dollars but bill in Jamaica dollars with the main energy cost tied directly to US dollars.

The consumption of electricity is not a fool proof determinant of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) performance but since electricity is used in generating most economic activity, it’s a good guide of what may be happening in the wider economy. Earlier this year, STATIN reported the GDP data that showed a decline of 1.3 percent in the first quarter.

JPS reported in its June quarter profit statement a decline in revenues of 8.5 percent and gross income fared even worse with a 16 percent fall, compared to the similar period in 2012. By contrast, the year-to-date revenues are down a little under 8 percent and gross profit off just 6 percent. The gross profit would be a better indicator than gross revenues as the latter removes the impact of price movement of fuel on the computation.

power-lines150x150pxJPS grossed US$267 million in the June quarter versus $291.5 million in June 2012 and US$536 million compared to $581.7 million in the six months to June 2012. Gross profit came out at US$62 million for the June quarter this year, while the gross profit in 2012 was US$73.8 for the June quarter and for the six months to June US$130 million and US$137.9 for the six months to June 2012.

Expenses | JPS was able to cut operating expenses by US$6.7 million in the quarter and just over US$8 million for the six month period compared to 2012. No doubt the change in the value of the Jamaican dollar versus the US dollar reduced much of the local input cost when converted to US dollars. But the cost of money went up US$2.3 million to nearly US$15 million for the June quarter and nearly US$9 million to reach US$32.6 million for the six months.

Profit | JPS ended up with profit of only US$1.1 million in the latest quarter and only US$315,000 for the six month period. In 2012, profit for the quarter was US$5.887 million and year to date US$7 million. The problem is that these returns are well off the rate of return that JPS is allowed to make under their licensing regime, which is about a 16 percent return on equity.

The poor profit performance has impacted the finances of the company. While equity is at US$445 million, debt is running closely behind at US$379 million. Cash collection is an issue with receivables equalling the full quarter’s revenues when it should not exceed 45 to 60 days. But cash, which was at US$26.5 million at the end of 2012, is now only US$4.3 million at the end of June — what would be called a fast evaporation of funds.

Related posts | Mining & Agriculture dent GDP badly | BOJ: Little or no growth to June | BOJ estimates GDP decline in Q1

Inflation continues moderation

The rate of inflation as computed by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica seems well under control especially in light of the impact of the movement of the Jamaican dollar which would have had impacted on prices as well as the increase in the price of oil on the world market. The calendar year–to-date inflation rate was 4.4 per cent up to July. The fiscal year-to-date since April 1st and point-to-point rates were 1.6 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively.

The All Jamaica ‘All Divisions’ Consumer Price Index for July was 200.9. The rate of inflation was 0.5 per cent, an increase of 0.3 percentage point above the 0.2 per cent rate recorded for June 2013. The index for the heaviest weighted division ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ moved upward by 0.6 per cent mainly due to higher prices for ‘Fruit’ and Vegetables and Starchy Foods’. The index for the group ‘Fruit’ rose by 2.4 per cent, while ‘Vegetables and Starchy Foods’ went up by 1.2 per cent. There were also upward movements of 0.2 per cent in the index for ‘Transport’ and 0.8 per cent for ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’, which are the second and third heaviest weighted divisions respectively.

‘Communications’ was the only division with a decline in its index. The 3.7 per cent decline resulted from reduced call rates following the decision of the Offices of Utilities Regulation to lower termination rates for telephone calls.

The other divisions that recorded increases were ‘Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’ 0.3 per cent, ‘Clothing and Footwear’ 1.3 per cent, ‘Furnishings Household Equipment and Routine Household Maintenance’ 0.5 per cent, ‘Health’ 0.1 per cent,  ‘Recreation and Culture’ 0.6 per cent, ‘Restaurants and Accommodation Services’ 0.3 per cent, and ‘Miscellaneous Goods and Services’ 0.7 per cent. There was no movement recorded for ‘Education.

There were increases in all three regions Greater Kingston Metropolitan Area (GKMA) up by 0.8 per cent, Other Urban Centres (OUC) up by 0.5 per cent, and Rural areas increased by 0.3 per cent

Related posts | Business inflation expectations | Inflation slows to a crawl | Inflation up in May

More employed in March but . . .

More Jamaicans were employed in March this year than for the same period in 2012 as 8,700 persons found employment bringing the number of employed persons to 1,107,400 as against 1,098,700 recorded in March 2012 and 1,093,200 in December last year. For males, it increased by 6,300 (1.0 percent) to 630,300 and for females by 2,400 (0.5 percent) to 477,100 for the period. Unfortunately, the number of increased employed could not help in the reduction of the unemployed as those rose 30,200 raising the unemployed rate to 16.3 percent, the worse rate since 1997 when the rate was 16.5 percent.

The Employment Rate for March 2013 was 83.7 percent, which was a 1.9 percentage point decline from the 85.6 percent in March 2012. The Employment Rate declined for both males and females over the period. For males, it declined by 1.1 percentage points, moving from 89.1 percent to 88.0 percent and for females it declined by 2.7 percentage points, moving from 81.4 percent to 78.7 percent over the same period.

The Occupation group ‘Clerks’ had the largest increase (6.0 percent) in the number of persons employed moving from 95,200 in March 2012 to 100,900 in March 2013. The group ‘Plant and Machine Operators’ and ‘Assemblers’ had the largest decline (4,300 persons) moving from 62,000 to 57,700 during the same period.

HelpWantedads150x150The industry group ‘Wholesale & Retail, Repair of Motor Vehicle & Equipment’ increased by 17,000 (7.8 percent) moving from 217,100 in March 2012 to 234,100 in March 2013. During the same period employment in ‘Manufacturing’ declined by 7,200 persons (9.2 percent).

Labour force | In March 2013, the number of persons in the Labour Force was 1,322,500, which was 38,900 (3.0 percent) higher than the 1,283,600 recorded in March 2012. The male labour force increased by 15,600 (2.2 percent), from 700,500 in March 2012 to 716,100 in March 2013, and the female labour force increased by 23,300 (4.0 percent) moving from 583,100 to 606,400 in the same period.

The number of persons who were classified as ‘Outside the Labour Force’ in March 2013 declined by 33,300 a 4.2 percent decrease to reach 753,700, when compared to 787,000 in March 2012. The number of males ‘Outside the Labour Force’ declined by 12,900 (4.3 percent) from 315,600 and the females by 20,400 (4.5 percent) from 471,400 over the period.

Unemployed | The number of Unemployed persons in March 2013 was 215,100, an increase of 30,200 (16.3 percent) when compared with 184,900 in March 2012. The number of unemployed males increased by 9,500 (12.4 percent) and the number of females by 20,700 (19.1 percent) for the same period.

The Unemployment Rate for March 2013 was 16.3 percent compared to 14.4 percent in March 2012. For the same period, the unemployment rate for males was 12.0 percent compared to 21.3 percent for females.

Youth unemployment a big problem | Unemployment rates among youths aged 14-24 years was 38.5 percent for March 2013. This was an increase of 4.1 percentage points when compared with 34.4 percent in March 2012. The male unemployment rate for youths was 30.1 percent compared to 27 percent for females.

The March 2013 Labour Force Survey was conducted by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN). The reference week for this survey was March 25-31, 2013. The 2011 Population Census distribution was used to derive all the estimates for the survey.

Related posts | Employment rate stabilised in 2012

FX: More sales than buys

Monday, 19th August 2013 | Trading in Monday’s forex market was characterised by heavy selling which exceeded the amount bought by nearly US$8 million. Selling of US$ was US$7 million more than bought with buying amounting to US$34.18 million at an average of $101.22, down 15 cents while selling totalled US$41.6 million at $101.93 down 2 cents. The Pound sterling also had more selling than the amounts bought with £3.18 million sold at an average price of $159.74 up 91 cents over Fridays price, versus £2.75 million purchased at an average price of $157.16, up 26 cents.

FX_TRADE+Currency+Aug19The Canadian dollar was purchased at 88 cents lower at $96.51 as C$1.29 million was bought and C$899,218 sold at 6 cents more than on Friday at an average of $98.62.

There was flux in the highest and lowest rates for the day with the US dollar being bought 5 cents more for the highest rate at $102.50 and sold at $13.83 more for the lowest selling rate which ended at $99.50. There was no change to the lowest buying and highest selling rates, which remains at $83.75 and $107.54 respectively.

FX_TRADE+HighLow+Aug19The Canadian was bought at 30 cents less than on Friday at $98.70, while the lowest buying rate was 8 cents less than Friday’s rate as it closed at $79.43. Selling took place at the same rate as Friday of $102.51 at the high and $3.35 lower for the lowest rate of $92.45. The Pound was purchased as high as $160.70 up by $1.30 and 88 cents more at $129.07 for the lowest buying rate. Selling was $3.88 more at $166.38 for the highest selling rate and just 15 cents less for the lowest selling rate at $154.35.

Blue Power profit up 20%

Blue Power reported profits for the quarter ending June 2013 of $30 million compared to $25 million in the same period last year, an increase of 20% and earnings per stock unit moved from 43 cents to 53 cents in the quarter, an improvement of 23%. While the growth is not bad, the operation was not firing on all cylinders as the increase came totally from the Lumber Depot division which contributed $18 million, improving by 34% over the same period in the previous year, while the Blue Power division added $12 million which was an improvement of 5% over the first quarter of 2012.

Combined sales were $246 million compared to $233 million for the same period last year, an increase of $13 million or just 6% much less than the increase in profit. The Lumber Depot division achieved sales of $175 million versus $154 million the previous year, an improvement of 14% while the Blue Power soap division moved down to $70 million from $79 million for a decrease of 11%. It was not only increased revenues which helped to grow profit for the quarter. Administrative cost was down from $33 million in 2012 to $27.9 million due to a write back of doubtful debt that was made in the last fiscal year to April and non-accrual of certain expense that was made in 2012 but not repeated in this latest quarter. Also, other income almost doubled from $2.2 million to $4.26 million.

BluePower150x150The chairman Dhiru Tanna, in a release with the quarterly report stated that “we are pleased that despite the very challenging economic circumstances facing the country we were able to achieve an improvement in the overall performance. During the quarter, the Blue Power soap division faced serious competition in the market place with wholesalers and distributors shaving their prices significantly to reduce inventories. As a result, our ability to adjust prices in keeping with the exchange rate changes was seriously hampered and our sales actually declined. We have taken steps to offer more vendor-friendly packaging as well as significant promotions which we hope will reverse the trend.”

He went on to say, “We continue to take advantage of our cash position to acquire inventory for resale at advantageous prices which is the main reason for the increase experienced in this category on the balance sheet. Our analysis indicates that this approach is essential to remain competitive in a very stagnant market.”

Finances | Since the April year end, cash has increased to $153 million from $145 million but inventories are up to $198 million from $176.85 million. Accounts receivables has remained flat at $69 million. Amounts due to creditors amounted to $88 million the same level as in April. Equity capital amounted to $375 million and there is no longer any loan capital being used.

Insider call | Blue Power is an IC Insider Buy Rated stock.

Related Posts | Blue Power dividend | Blue Powered huge profit increase

JSE Insider trades

Jamaica Producers Group Limited advised that a director purchased a total of 500,000 shares during the period August 14 – 15, 2013.

National Commercial Bank Jamaica advised that a related party sold 379,500 of the company’s shares on August 13, 2013.

Mayberry Investments advised that a related party bought 9,013 of the company’s shares on August 16, 2013, the company also advised that a related party purchased a total of 27,472 of the shares during the period August 7 – 9, 2013.

Jamaica Money Market Brokers advised that a related party sold 300,000 JMMB shares on August 19, 2013 and another related party sold a total of 9,513,500 JMMB shares on August 15, 2013.

Image courtesy of Photokanok/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

JSE: Heavy trades for JPG and JMMB

Monday, 19th August 2013 | The market closed off today as stocks of 27 companies traded with a volume of 4.196 million units valued at $30.1 million. There were 11 stocks advancing and 8 declining as all the indices gained moderately except for a small fall in the US$ market. The cross listed index had no trades.

The all Jamaica Index gained 130.14 points and closed at 85,460.90 and the JSE market index increased by 73.96 to close at 85,373.85, the junior market gained 6.60 closing at 809.44.

Main Market trades of note | Cable & Wireless traded 530,000 units and slipped 2 cents to close at 15 cents. Other stocks with major changes on the day are Desnoes & Geddes with 52,837 units falling by 9 cents to close at $4.52, Grace Kennedy with 26,000 units valued at $1,481,300, gained 99 cents to $56.99, Jamaica Broilers Group, 66137 units to close at $5 up 2 cents, Jamaica Money Market Brokers having another heavy trade with 661,166 units valued at $5,324,306, closed at $8.10, Jamaica Producers Group 653,240 units at $18.25 up 73 cents with a value of $11,914,904, National Commercial Bank had only 9,000 at $18.55 up by 5 cents. Sagicor Life, 238,356 units valued at $2,118,414 to close at $9.50 up $1 and Scotia Group 16,428, closing at $21.10 up 2 cents. Carreras gained 60 cents as just 1,890 shares changed hands, the stock closed with a bid of $49.10 for 52,775 shares. Caribbean Cement Company traded at $2.10, a new 52 weeks high but with only 2,042 units trading and gaining 10 cents on the day.

JSEIndicesAug19Junior market | The junior market recovered from a lacklustre Friday when only 4 stocks traded, to a day in which 8 traded. Blue Power slipped by 42 cents to close at $9.18 with only 5,585 units trading. After the market closed, the company reported increased profit for the June quarter of $30 million compared to $25 million in the same period last year, an increase of 20%. Caribbean Producers traded 9,500 shares and dropped 7 cents, closing at $2.03. Consolidated Bakeries traded 69,160 shares and closed up 5 cents to $1.40. General Accident Insurance traded 35,000 shares firm at $1.85. Lasco Financial Services traded 146,909 shares, closed up 2 cents to $1.52. Lasco Manufacturing had trading in 401,924 shares and dropped 5 cents to $1.60.

Eppley shares have still not traded since listing and has one bid for 450 units at $350.

Proven Investment Preference shares traded 1,073,900 units valued at $5,466,151, while the ordinary shares which are quoted in US dollar traded 89,000 at a value of US$10,591. Yhe stock lost a fraction of a cent to close at US.1190 cents.

IC bid-offer Indicator | At the end of trading, the Investor’s Choice bid-offer market sentiment indicator shows that bids for 5 stocks were higher with 1 stock having an offer lower than their last traded price.