NCB at 11 year low is it a buy yet?

Investors buying into the public offer of NCB Financial Group stock at $65 each in May are hugging up an 18 percent loss on their investment since, with the stock hitting a 52 weeks’ low of $54.66 on Monday and ending at a closing low of $55 after more than 1.5 million shares were traded, following a sizable 3 million share trade on June 17, when the stock closed at $59.
Investors in the stock whether new or not are taking the beating following the public offer that came when the stock was trading at an eleven year low going back to February 2013. The question for investors is whether the price has reached a bottom and when will a consistent rebound commence. The accompanying chart will help in partially answering the questions.
NCB is a diversified financial group, providing services in general insurance, life insurance, banking and investments management. The group is also geographically diversified with operations in Trinidad, Bermuda and Jamaica. It has a solid base that it can use to produce increased revenues and profits in the future.
Currently, the stock trades at a PE ratio of just 6.5, at a steep discount to the Main Market with an average valuation of 14, but higher than Scotia Group at a mere 6.
The major issue is whether the stock price is at or near the bottom. The attached chart offers some clues, with the stock trading at the bottom of a downward sloping channel.

30 highest bids and offers for NCB shares mid morning on Wednesday.

30 highest bids and offers for NCB shares mid morning on Wednesday.

It may take some time for the added pressure brought on by the issue of the additional shares for which there was inadequate demand, to abate.
The price seems to have reached support at the channel bottom. The lower channel line goes back to July last year. The trend shown by the channel, between the green and the orange lines is negative, sloping downwards, suggesting that the price downturn could continue awhile longer. The stock will probably bounce off the low reached on Monday, but the demand shown by the order book is thin, suggesting the price could go lower. It would not be surprising to see the stock hitting $50 before bottoming out. If it rebounds from where it is now it’s likely to get back to $65 and probably resume its decline towards the $50 mark as buyers at $65 try to get out. Although undervalued, investors should be cautious in buying the stock around the recent price. They should probably await clearer signals that it is at the bottom.

Trading jumps in the JSE Main Market

Main Market trading volume jumped 110 percent but the value in the five months to May over 20223, the more important measure of market interest climbed 49 percent to $17.14 billion. May saw trading dropping below that in April, with just 441 million units trading, valued at $2.85 billion from 865 million shares in April valued at $4.6 billion.
The volume of Main Market stocks traded in May was 55 percent more than in 2023 with the value rising by 67 percent. March was the only month when the value of stocks was lower than in 2023, even as the total volume traded was more than twice the 2023 volume.
Trading in the Junior Market and the JSE USD market fell compared with 2023. The Junior Market suffered an 18 percent fall in volume to 1.187 billion units, with a 47 percent fall in value to $2.65 billion following Lasco Distributors and Lasco Manufacturing migrating to the Main Market at the end of March, May’s trading was 82 percent more than that in 2023 with a 42 percent greater value. Even with switching the two Lasco companies to the Main market in March, trading in May this year exceeded all the months in 2023 from May onwards.
The US market saw a 68 percent fall in volume to 29.9 million units and a 53 percent drop in value to US$2.9 million

Jamaica’s inflation jumps in May

Inflation in Jamaica for May 2024 was 0.5 percent, down from 0.6 percent in May 2023 according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) computed All Jamaica Consumer Price Index. The five months of deflation for 2024 comes in at negative 1.3 percent.
Statin also stated the upward movement was due mainly by a 1.1 percent rise in the index for the heaviest weighted division of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages.
The point to point inflation fell marginally over the past 12 months to 5.2 percent, down from 5.3 percent in April and roughly at the mid-point of the target range of four to 6 percent set by the government of Jamaica for the country’s central bank to attain.
Importantly, Statin said that Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages (3.9 percent), ‘Transport’ (9.7 percent) and ‘Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ (3.8 percent) were the major contributor to inflation in the past 12 months.

Caribbean Assurance Brokers up 73%

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The Jamaica Stock Exchange Main and Junior Markets recorded mild declines for the year to the end of May, at the same time the Top 10 performing stocks all posted double digit gains with Caribbean Assurance Brokers landing a 73 percent increase to be the best performing stock in both markets.
Three of the top performing Main Market stocks migrated from the Junior Market, two this year and one at the end of May last year. Lasco Distributors ended as the best performing stock in the Main Market with a 44 percent gain, followed by Wigton Windfarms with 35 percent, with demand coming in to buy based on the removal of ownership restriction and General Accident another former Junior Market stock that migrated last year, up 34 percent, with profit reported in the 2023 audited accounts beating expectations and followed by 30 percent rise in the 2024 first quarter profit before taxation. First Rock gained 32 percent and Lasco Manufacturing with improved full year results over 2023 posted gains of 27 percent.
In the Main Market, Radio Jamaica is down 39 percent and Palace Amusement with a decline of 29 percent were the worst performers, the former reporting a loss for the nine months to December last year and Palace that came under selling pressure. Pulse Investment lost 19 percent and the Sagicor Group 15 percent.
In the Junior Market, Dolphin Cove is the second best performing stock with a gain of 37 percent based on improved profit and increased dividend payment and Blue Power is up 30 percent, ending as the number three winner, following improving profit. Honey Bun with improved full year and first half year results gained 23 percent followed by Derrimon Trading up 19 percent. Edufocal fell 48 percent to be the worst performing Junior Market stock followed by MFS Partners with a fall of 47 percent and CAC 2000 down 31 percent, following continued poor results. Also declining are Fontana down 22 percent and Limners and Bards had a fall of 21 percent
Helping the performance is a big jump in the volume and value of stocks traded in the Main Market with the Junior Market suffering from reduced trading compared with last year.

BOJ cd rate falls below 10%

Interest rate fell on Bank of Jamaica’s latest certificate of deposit offer to just 9.7 percent at an auction of $11 billion on Wednesday this week from over 10.02 percent at last week’s Wednesday regular offering, at $37 billion.
The auction attracted $33 billion from 361 applicants, with just 90 being successful. The highest bid clearing the auction was 9.98 percent. Following, the regular auction of last week, the Central Bank placed an unscheduled offer of $18 billion on the market on Thursday, attracting 245 bids for $28.46 billion, resulting in an average rate of 9.21 percent, with 140 bids being successful, with the highest successful rate being 9.74 percent.
At the close of this week’s auction, $129.5 billion in 30 days CD’s will be outstanding. This seems to be a continuation of the recent decline in CD rates that could be heralding a period of lower interest rates, following two years with rates being at an elevated level  since the second half of 2022.
Jamaica has had four straight months of high levels of deflation that seem set to continue into May and probably beyond and would demand a lowering of interest rates sooner rather than later.

Junior Market jumps 90 points

The Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange jumped 90 points in early trading to move the index over 3,725 points and recovered most of the 103 points loss in the past three days. Gains in the JSE Main market was not as pronounced with the Main Index rising 1,504 points to 320,120.64.
Since the Junior Market opening, the index has slipped to 3,713 points with a gain of 78 points at 9.42 am.
Contributing to the Junior Market‘s early gains are Fesco that recovered from yesterday’s loss, trading at $3.22 and Express Catering trading at $5 and newly listed Omni Industries hitting $1.42 for a gain of 42 percent from IPO price, with over 1.4 million shares traded.

Jamaica tourist arrivals hit the skids

After a robust start to stopover arrivals in the early months of the year, data on passenger traffic passing through Jamaica’s two major international airports declined in May, with passenger traffic passing through the Sangster International Airport slipping from 402,000 in May last year to 401,500, down 0.3 percent.
The airport traffic although not telling the full picture of stopover arrivals, is a good barometer of likely outcomes showing that Sangster International Airport which accounts for around 85 percent of visitor arrivals is up just 3.9 percent to 2,294,800 for the year to date.
This is the second month of decline for Montego Bay that had a 4.2 percent reduction to 435,500 in April from 454,500 for the same period last year, bringing the year to date increase then to 4.8 percent to 1.8928 million.
Traffic through Kingston’s Norman Manley continues the decline since the start of the year, with a fall of 1.1 percent to 139,900 compared to 141,500, with traffic for the first five months of this year, declining by 2.2 percent to 667,300 from 682,300.
The data is taken from a report on airport traffic during May published by Grupo Aeroportuario Del Pacifico operators of Jamaica’s two major airports.

428% dividend hike jolts stock price

Caribbean Assurance Brokers announced a 428 percent jump in dividends to 14.11 cents from just 2.67 cents paid last year. This year’s dividend is payable on September 16, with an ex-dividend date of August 15 and the announcement pushed the stock up 22 percent in a day and 73 percent for the year to date.
The dividend yields 4.8 percent based on Thursday’s closing price of $3.15 and four percent based on Friday’s closing of $3.83, almost twice the junior Market average of 2 percent.
The increase follows a jump in profits for 2023 to $123 million or 47 cents per share after a charge of $17 million or 6.5 cents per share for doubtful debt which was reversed in the first quarter to March this year with a profit of just $3 million after the credit impairment loss was revered and compares with a profit of $17 million in 2023.  Net profit for 2022 was $78 million or 30 cents per share.
Also announcing dividend payment is Salada Foods with an interim dividend of 6.4 cents per stock unit, payable on July 4, 2024, with an ex-dividend date is June 14.

BOJ CD rates fall below 10%

The Bank of Jamaica’s latest offering of $47 billion to the public in certificates of deposit (CD), resulted in a fall in rates with an average of 9.98 percent at the auction that attracted $60.6 billion in 445 bids of which 358 were successful with the highest rate peaking at 10.35 percent.
This week’s rate is 16 percent lower than the peak on April 5, this year, with the average rate then of 11.59 percent.
The average rate of today’s auction is the lowest in months and is lower than last week’s average of 10.19 percent following an auction of $34.5 billion which cleared at an average of 10.19 percent. The total amount of 30 days CD outstanding is $128.5 billion.
Investors should pay attention to developments in this section of the financial market to get an early reading as to the trend in interest rates and not on Bank of Jamaica overnight rate.

Dolphin Cove the dividend king

The dividend yield on the Junior market listed Dolphin Cove is 10 percent based on Wednesday’s early traded price of $24 and dividends of $2.40 payable since October last year.

Dolphin Cove price paying 60 cents dividend in June.

Dolphin’s shareholders have much more than the high yield to cheer about, with the stock gaining 68 percent in value over the past twelve months in a market that has delivered no increase during the same period. The company reported profit declining from US$1.57 million for the first quarter last year to $1.38 million in the March 2024 quarter with revenues of US$4.9 million up from US$4.85 million with operational expenses jumping by US$300,000. For the year to December 2024, the company reported sales of US$17 million from $15 million in 2023. It generated a profit of US$4.2 million before booking a cost of US$1.13 million in penalties and interest on GCT relating to an earlier period compared with $2.97 million in 2022
The returns for Dolphin are far ahead of a 7 percent yield for Mailpac but in line with Carreras at 10 percent yield and Transjamaican Highway at 6 percent. Scotia Group another high dividend payer is currently 4 percent but that is expected to rise as the year progresses and dividends are increased with rising profit and a return to the traditional pay out ratio of more than 40 percent of profit.
The real virtue of Dolphin over Carreras is that the former continues to record growth while the latter has has little or no growth for years.

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