Rising stock prices dragging PEs higher

The bulls have taken control of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, driving the main market to several new record highs during the past week with All Jamaica Index hitting more than 352,000 points last week Friday and jumping more than 6,000 points on Tuesday morning this week to more than 356,400 points and hitting a high of 363,496.
At the same time, the Junior Market now trades at a 15 months’ high. The bullishness has also raised the PE ratio of the market higher since the start of July. The average PE for the overall Junior Market is now 13, based on 2018 estimated earnings. The main market PE, is now an average of 13.7. At the start of July, the PE ratios, were at 11 for the Junior Market and 13 for the main market. At the end of 2017, the average PEs were at 13.5 and 15 respectively, based on 2017 earnings.
The PE is the most used tool in valuing stocks. in order to compare the value of one stock versus another, as such paying attention to this most important measure is critical to success in the stock market. PE ratios are not static and will change as profit and interest rates change. Profit will drive a stock to an expected or accepted PE but interest rates will change PE depending on whether rates and rising or falling. For several years Jamaican became used to a PE of 10 being the norm. That was when interest rates were in the teens now that rates are down sharply from that level PE will rise but its taken quite some time for that to happen. Investors are slowly recognizing that to participate in a growing economy and rising profits that they have to pay more to buy the shares of the listed companies.
The attached chart suggests that the average PE ratio is likely to end 2018 around 16 TO 17 times earnings, as investors continue to gradually upgrade the multiple they are prepared to pay for stocks, which would lift prices sharply over the coming months, from current levels.
Treasury bill rates now under 2 percent and government 4 years bods clearing at 3.95 percent and with a chronic shortage of many of the stocks, continuing to put upward pressure on prices, the PE ratios will move higher, investors should be taking their cue from this development.
The movement of the markets PE to the range mentioned above would translate to and increase around 25 percent rise in the market for the rest of the year and would result in full year gains of 40 to 50 percent in main and Junior markets for the year.

Mismatched stock values

Jamaica Producers former HQ

At the start of June, investors could pick up PanJam Investment shares at $45 and theoretically sell off the 31.56 percent holdings in Sagicor and own each PanJam share for just $1.
A few weeks on, the proposition is more expensive to achieve as it would cost $8 to achieve the same objective. Based on the lack supply of PanJam shares on the market it could become even more expensive in the weeks and months ahead.
While that anomaly exits, there is the wield situation in the local stock market where prices seem to be mismatched. Jamaica Producers (Producers) is selling a PE around of 25, well above the market average of 13 currently, but below Kingston Wharves (KWH) at 30. Jamaica Producers owns 50 percent of KWH with half of its market value being $33 billion. Producers is valued by the market at $19 billion well below its half of KWH. It would require a 74 percent price gain in Producers to equal the value of their holdings in KWH, assuming the latter remains around the current price of $46.55.

Kingston Wharves trades at 30 times 2018 earnings.

Another fascinating finding is that Junior Market listed Access Financial Services with market capitalization of $12.77 billion is almost twice the size of Mayberry Investments of just $7.8 billion. Mayberry formerly owned over 40 percent of Access before selling it off to Proven Investments.
Mismatching is also evident in the junior market with Cargo Handlers and Knutsford Express selling well above the market for more than a year, even after their prices have slowly declined over that period. Everything Fresh has now joined the group of highly valued stock with PE in excess of 20 times 2018 earnings. With Treasury bill rates just under 2.5 percent and heading lower PE of 20 should now be common place, but when the market is selling well below then it raises some questions about how well investors are pricing stocks. A keen look at these high priced stocks is that with exception of KWH the prices have not gained in over a year and in fact some have fallen while others in the market have recorded strong gains. Some of these stocks seem poised to under perform the market for awhile, until time and increased earnings better align their values with the rest of the market.

IPO facts investors should know

“Hello my dear client, the day we have been waiting for to increase your wealth is here. The Mayberry Jamaican Equities IPO has finally arrived, the stock is a must have at this time. Attached are the Prospectus and Application Form for your attention. The official opening date is Monday, July 9, 2018, the demand is high so please don’t delay,” Kind regards, a MIL wealth adviser.
The above was a message sent out by one of Mayberry’s wealth advisor. A group of investors stated in 2017 that investors cannot go wrong with Junior Market IPOs, all that has to be done is just buy, buy, buy and the investor cannot fail to make money. Some investors in the last two IPOs, Sygnus Credit and Everything Fresh bought into the issues heavily, hoping to catch an early bounce and pocket the profit. That the initial bounce did not last, should be a lesson to speculators.

%8 Half Way Tree Road owned by Stanley Motta.

Laden with 6 main and Junior Market stocks, Mayberry Jamaican Equities is issuing 120,114,929 ordinary shares to the public, at a price of $7.57 each. Investors really ought to know what they are buying into when IPOs are being issued, rather than thinking that the price of each IPO can only go in one direction – up. As the stock market matures and more persons come to the party of stock ownership, the valuations that new IPOs come to the market at, will continue to rise and less immediate potential gains will be priced in. In some cases, investors will need to look long term for the payoff from their investment.
Everything Fresh, Sygnus Credit, Stanley Motta and Mayberry Jamaican Equities fall into this category. GWest was another company that many investors got carried away with, in pushing the price to $4 with many buying at inflated values, now the stock trades in the low $2 range. A reminder of an adage, that successful trading starts at buying at the right price. GWest business model is based mainly on generating most income and profits coming from operating mini hospital and other patient care. Real estate income going forward was going to be secondary and would not contribute much to profit. Profit made in the year before listing was mostly from sale of real estate and that was not something that would continue for any prolonged period. Without a track record in providing healthcare, investors who bought the stock in the high $3-4 level must have been hoping that the forecast in the prospectus was going to be achieved on a timely basis. The results to March show revenues well below forecast from the new operations. The company projected medical income to March this year, at $86 million but only generated $17.4 million and that puts the issue of generating the forecasted $710 million for fiscal year 2019, in doubt. Admittedly, the company had projected a loss to March of $110 million but came up sharply lower with a loss of $88 million.
Investors should recognize that not all IPOs are equal. They should also realize that there is a clear pattern that prices then to move up for strongly demanded issues and the undergo some correction. The data shows that the best time to buy after the IPO closes is on the first day or two or a few weeks after when demand falls off and supply increases as short term investors try to offload.
Data for listings in 2016 to 2018 show and average of 31 percent correction for Junior Market stocks from the highest point to the lowest, after listings which tends to occur within 4 weeks of listing. IPOS from Mayberry seem to have a lower pull back in price, around an average of 23 percent while most others, average around 33 percent. Three main market stocks pull back from their highest point, range from just 15 percent for Victoria Mutual Investments to 31 percent for Wisynco and 29 percent for Sygnus Credit Investments.
Based on how investors have gone about pricing IPOs at their peak it seems likely that Indies Pharma will peak around $2.40 based on projected earnings in 2018, of 16 cents per share. It could even go higher if the number of investors who apply for shares exceed those Junior Market listings IPOS from those going back to 2018.

Ranking dramatically improves stock returns

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Many investors could dramatically improve returns on their stock market investment if they ranked stocks listed on the market. Ranking helps to better identify those with the greatest potential to grow and those that do not, within a limited time frame.
Many investors grapple with selecting the most appropriate stocks to buy or sell but many if they ranked stocks in the market, could see a marked change to their results. It would also give them a great guide as to when to sell. Most they know when to buy, but have difficulty in determining when to sell. Ranking solves that.
Investors should pay attention to all stocks in the market, especially when the companies report results. Financial results may have coded message about future earnings. Some factors to look for in results that could provide big advantage for keen investors are results with one off income or expenses that make them look better or worse than if those cost or income were not included. In short, results should be stripped to show earnings from continuing operations.

Access has a long history of consistent growth in income & profits

Ultimately stock valuation will be based on continuing earnings. Strength in revenue growth is a very good place to start, the higher the increase the better the future may look especially if costs are rising much more slowly than revenues.
Investors should pay attention to those stocks that rise or fall and try and identify the reasons for the movements, especially if the movement is over a few days rather than the one day up and the other day down change. Get help from a broker or a friend who are likely to know, to get a better understanding of price movements.
Investors can use information in IC Insider.com’s stock market report charts that show the PE ratio of each stock. The TOP 10 charts rank stocks starting with the ones showing the highest likely return at the top followed by next in line and so on. Ranking stocks to show those with the best and worse performance over the next 12 months, is one of the best ways to make money in the market.

Junior Market TOP 10 stocks ranked in descending order of potential gains.

It is highly recommended, as it has worked very well historically in eliminating the noise that is inherent in stock selection when they are not ranked. Those with the best ranking tend to take longer to rise as they tend to be out of favour for a while but usually they do and go on to provide big gains.
Focus should be placed on stocks with the lowest PE ratios. Rising stock prices increase the PE and falling prices will tend to reduce the PE. The crude rule of thumb is that stocks with the lowest PE ratios are better buys for maximum appreciation with the reverse being true.
While investors should be looking for low PE stocks to invest in, some of the best stocks to invest in are those with rising income and profit, they could probably be very good stocks to invest in for a longer period and ensure a greater chance of long term gains.
The historical performance of Access Financial is an excellent example to observe as it has demonstrated consistent high annual growth in revenues and profits and stock price.

Scotia Premium Growth up 37% in 2017

Scotia Investments was the top performing unit trust in 2017.

The Jamaica stock market enjoyed strong growth between 2015 and 2017 with several stocks recording more than 100 percent gains in each of the years. The vast majority of Jamaicans have not participated in the gains offered by the market.
The vast majority of Jamaicans have not enjoyed the benefits of investing directly in the stock market because they do not fully understand it while some are just scared to lose their money. Many investors have taken the hassle or concerns out of investing directly in stocks by investing in equity based unit trust schemes that have delivered better gains than those in the fixed income market.
For while the combined market index of the Jamaica Stock Exchange racked up gains of 43 percent in 2017, the top performing equity based fund, Scotia’s Premium Growth Fund recorded gains of 37 percent for their investors in 2017 on top of a 25 percent gain in 2016. The Scotia Fund displaced Barita’s Capital Growth Fund, the 2016 front runner that ended at number 6 in 2017, delivering a 21.5 percent return, down slightly from 26.7 percent in 2016
Many investors have benefit from the strong performance of the local stock market in a number of ways. Pension funds that a large number of Jamaicans are members of, hold shares of many companies on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE). There are also insurance company funds that rely on the shares as part of their investment portfolios. The National Insurance Scheme also invests in these companies and many more Jamaicans benefit from the market’s performance than they may be aware of. Others persons invest through unit trusts to enjoy the growth in the market and thus lower their risk. How does this work?

Barita Unit Trust equity drop from #1 in 206 to 6th spot in 2017 with a gain of 21.5%

A unit trust is a pooled investment scheme that allows anyone without expert knowledge and time to invest in a diverse portfolios of most stocks, to invest in them and therefore benefit from the gains that the funds can deliver. The investments, which comprise local and foreign equities, bonds, corporate paper, government securities, real estate, among others, are professionally managed to optimize gains for the investor.
Investing in a unit trust is an attractive option as the portfolios are not only diverse but they also cater to those with or without an appetite for risk. A few of the benefits to be derived are tax free gains, depending on the portfolio, lower levels of market volatility given the mix of securities in each portfolio as well as other perquisites.
From year to year, the performance of investments in equity based unit trust funds may in part reflect the highs and lows of the economy, the percentage share of investments in the local stock market shares and fixed income funds. Most importantly, the management of the funds can make a big difference as can be seen from the varied performance of funds in Jamaica. Additionally, in recent years there have been new players entering the market and new products being offered, thereby creating greater diversity so as to capture new investors and a greater share of the market of the non-investing market.
At present, there are eight schemes managed locally, namely Barita Unit Trust, JMMB Fund Managers, JN Fund Managers, NCB Capital Markets, Proven Fund Managers, Sagicor Investments, Scotia investments Jamaica and  Victoria Wealth Management. All offer varied slate of funds denominated in Jamaican dollars and US dollars. Sagicor Investments has fifteen (15) portfolios, the most diverse of all, followed by Barita Unit Trust, JMMB and NCB, VM, Scotia and newcomer Proven.
Funds under management as at October 2017 stood at $229 billion with Sagicor still commanding the lion’s share with Scotia and NCB holding their double-digit portion while the others shared the remainder of the pie.
In the next article, IC Insider.com will look at the performance of the unit trust equities’ portfolio in 2017 compared to previous years to give investors a better view of the best performing funds.

Buying and selling shares

A decision to purchase or sell shares is usually communicated to the stockbroker by investors on a daily basis. This may be done by telephone, email or in person. Increasingly the broker are requiring their clients to commit their orders in writing.
The customer may request the stockbroker to purchase or sell a specified number of a particular stock at a particular price or at the market price which prevails at a particular day. On a trading day (Monday through Friday) the broker will fill the order of the customer and will then notify them in the form of a contract note of the details of the trade. The first orders fill are likely to market orders, but many investors tend to state specific prices for each trade.
This contract note is a very important document in the purchase or sale of a transaction. This document sets out the following:(a) The date of the transaction. (b) amounts of units bought or sold;(c) purchase or sale price;(d) name of the company that trading took place; e) the gross and net consideration. (f) Cess payable (g) the commission payable to the broker (up to 2% of consideration by the seller and up to 2% by the purchase on each transaction)(h) Trade fee that is payable to the Exchange, (i) settlement date (usually three {2} days after the date of the transaction).
Opening a brokerage account will require the investor to provide the broker with relevant information so that they have information on each of their clients. These include IDs, addresses with verification of it, references to name some of the items. for new investors brokers will usually require a deposit on the purchase.
The broker can provide an investor with recommendations for buying and selling. Investors should do their homework where necessary on the company they would want to invest in as this can help when talking to your broker. The following are the list of stock brokers that trade securities on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

Barita Investments Limited, • GK Capital Management Limited,• JMMB Securities Limited,• JN Fund Managers Limited,• M/VL Stockbrokers Limited,• Mayberry Investments Limited,• NCB Capital Markets Limited,• Proven Wealth Limited,• Sagicor Investments Jamaica Limited,• Scotia Investments Jamaica Limited,• Stocks and Securities Limited and Victoria Mutual Wealth Management Limited.

Bitcoin what is it really?

Cryptocurrencies have spawned many millionaires but most persons don’t know how they work and why the prices keep surging upwards in spectacular fashion.
Bitcoin, the most popular of the cryptocurrencies, gets huge attention globally, as the price has skyrocketed from nothing to the US$20,000 recently. The price pulled back in the last two weeks but still sits at a spectacular $16,700.
The crypto prefix in cryptocurrency comes from cryptography, the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties. Blockchain is a decentralized ledger in which a continuously growing list of records called blocks are linked, secured, and distributed across networks of computers.
Bitcoin mining is a process where computers are used to verify a block of transactions along the bitcoin blockchain, which are then put through a process that applies a mathematical formula to them. That then turns the block into a random sequence of letters and numbers known as a “hash.” The hash is stored along with the block, at the end of the blockchain, at the point in time it is authenticated.
Participants on the blockchain has access to all records of all transactions, including the most newly made. Anyone can mine blocks (by identifying them by their hash and confirming them) and earn a reward of 25 bitcoins. Bitcoin has no intrinsic value, its utility as a currency is limited to those who choose to use it.
Bitcoins can be traded by signing up to a bitcoin wallet service at exchanges such as, Coinbase, Blockchain.info, and Xapo. Signing up is similar to any other website by entering name and email address and password to get started. After that, it’s time to connect your bank account, debit card, or credit card.

Profitable investments guide

Access Financial Services profit has grown regularly from 2005 to 2017.

“I recently began trading stocks on both the main and junior market, and I was hoping that you could guide me through the analysis of the market and stocks and IPOs, I am not sure which stocks might likely break out on either market and my portfolio is sitting in the red for a year now,” a reader asked recently.
That is a bit tough when several stocks have delivered very good returns in 2017 with the JSE main market up more than 50 percent for the year to date and with 9 Junior Market stocks rising more than 100 percent. It is worth noting that investment is not an endeavor that will always produce quick positive results. One of the stocks in the portfolio was clearly bought at far too high a price and value. Currently, although the price has fallen it can be considered overpriced. If you were following IC Insider.com you would have seen from last year that the stock was highly overvalued. Important it was the top performing Junior Market stock and there is good evidence suggesting that buying the top performing stock for a year is unlikely see that stock performing strongly in a subsequent year.

JMMB peaked in 2005 and only exceeded that price in 2017.

The number one rule in investing, get good reliable advice. Rule number 2, compare the price earnings ratios of stocks and focus on those that are the lowest and those companies that are doing well, that is, their profits are growing in a consistent manner and likely to continue that way into the future. A very good case in is that of Access Financial with a virtual increase in profit every year since listing.
Be very careful of popular stocks there may have run their course of gains and have little fuel let to go much higher.
Future earnings are important in investing, but it makes no sense to buy a stock at a high price with the hope that in a few years, profits will then grow and make a profitable investment for an investor, while one waits on the big pay day, other stocks are rising and the investor misses out on other good opportunities. Companies that are expanding can provide good investment opportunities.
Three stocks in the Jamaican market, made historical highs in 2005 and it was not been until 2017, that two recovered enough to exceed the previous highs, these two are JMMB Group and Scotia Group. Mayberry Investments is the third and is well below the peak after so many years. Even as two have exceeded the 2005 highs, the gains from then to now, is not very great while many others have gone on to record considerable gains. The lesson from these three is that, while investors wait to recover losses by holding on to poorly performing assets, they are missing profitable investment opportunities elsewhere.

Stock market moves in opposite direction to interest rates.

Why is it so important to get good advice? In August a brokerage house recommended that investors sell Caribbean Cement as in their opinion it was overvalued. At the same time IC Insider.com had the stock highly placed in the TOP 10 stocks to buy. The other is Berger Paints where some investors sold their stock for $10.88 only to see a big price gains since. Some persons have not factored in a number of developments in some of these companies and other developments in the wider economies, all of which can push revenues and profits. What are some of these, Cement has cut cost and likely to do so in 2018 when they refinance the current leasing arrangement. Most importantly, demand for cement is going to explode locally as demand for construction rise. The same will be happening at Berger as more buildings mean more demand for paints.
Consistent growth| Most investors should really be investing in companies where there is a consistency in annual growth in profits. They should shun ones with a checkered earnings history, unless they can be adept of picking tops and bottoms. That is a task persons who use technical analysis can do well.
Dangers of investing| When stock prices rise much faster than the growth in profits, it is time to take serious note of what is happening, this is a telltale sign of a correction ahead, unless the company is recovering from past period of undervaluation, interest rates are falling or the company is expanding and will be expected to enjoy a boost in profit as a result. Investors in such stocks should be fully conversant with what are the factors at play, to ensure their investment can be properly protected if, and when, the factors change.
Other factors| Look at developments in each company and what is happening to the local economy and the likely impact on companies. Most importantly, movement in interest rates have been shown to move markets in one direction or the other and this is a critical factor in investment assessment. One last point to bear in mind is the Investor’s Choice 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule| The rule is simple but profound, only 20 percent of the stocks that end up in the top 10 in one year reenter in the subsequent year and in some years just one or none make it, while 40 percent of the 10 worst performing stocks, make it to the top 10 best performers in the subsequent year. This is backed up by data going back for several years to the 1980s. This rule is only broken in a few years that are bearish. this rule is a very good guide for investors in knowing which stocks to buy or sell and when.

Teachings from silly Unilever Investors

Investors need to be careful and not follow the fad of following the leader blindly. In 2013 IC Insider.com posted a report on the Unilever Caribbean based in Trinidad and traded on the country’s stock exchange.
Since the report the company stock has been on a downward slope after rising to new record in 2013, yesterday Jamaica Stock Exchange junior market listed Knutsford Express after a long period of overvaluation relative to the market, dropped $2.75 as demand for the stock evaporated. The same thing happened to Cargo Handlers that was pushed unrealistically to $30, only for it to be trading at $10 currently and is still above normal valuation. This latter stock came as a big buy on the way up, by a brokerage house.
Unilever’s profit peaked in the period to September 2014 and started a downhill ride since but investors kept on pushing the price higher until it peaked at TT$68.30 in December 2015, on Wednesday the stock traded with a loss of $1.25, to a multi year’s low of $38.

Unilever products

The IC Insider.com report in 2013 was: When stock prices rise much faster than the growth in profits, we need to take time to note of what is happening. Investors in such stocks should be fully conversant with the factors at play to ensure that their investment can be properly protected if, and when, the factors change.
Unilever Caribbean stock price is up 13 percent so far in 2013, on top of a 45 percent increase in 2012, 44 percent in 2011 and 35 percent in 2010 after a 16 percent fall in 2009. The company, a subsidiary of Unilever PLC, a United Kingdom company, is based in Trinidad and manufactures a range of homecare, personal care and food products for the Caribbean region, including Jamaica, has been having reasonable profit performances for a number of years. In fact they have been able to improve sales and margins in a market that has been in recession since 2009. The growth in the stock price is well in excess of the rise in profits for the past four and half years.
Some of the company’s brands include Mistolin, Radiante, Breeze, Vaseline, Lux, Lipton, Becel and Blue Band. The product range also includes dishwashing liquids as well as fabric conditioners.

Knutsford Express peaked at $16.89 and is now trading at $12.

For the three months to March 2013, revenues climbed to $137 million up from $128 million for the same period in 2012 while profits were up to $13 million after tax compared to $11.9 million in 2012. The December quarter is the biggest period for earnings with more than a third being generated in the period. For 2012 full year to December the company reported after tax profit of $59.5 million an increase of just 2.8 percent over that earned in 2011. Profit for 2011 was up 11 percent over 2010 and 2010 profit was up 26 percent over the previous year. Lower interest rates in Trinidad have helped to push the PE ratio to 21 times earnings at a current stock price of $53.25, up from 14 times in 2011 and 11.5 for 2010.
Unilever reported areas of success reflected in good growth in some of its products but also expressed concerns about rising input cost of some of the products it manufactures as well as competition from cheaper products. From all indications, management seems to have managed to steer the operations well resulting in improved margins, which moved from 61.8 percent in 2012 first quarter to 63.8 percent in 2013, a continuation of the marked improvement seen for 2012 when the margins for the full year came out at 63.7 percent versus the 59.2 percent enjoyed in 2011.
While cost increase seems to be under control in 2013 for the first quarter, that was not the case in 2012 when selling cost rose by $17 million or 17 percent and administrative cost rose 22 percent, well above the growth in revenues. For the quarter, selling cost rose by 4.8 percent and administrative cost rose 2.7 percent while revenues are up 4.75 percent.
The company boast equity capital of $176 million, has no interest bearing debt and a high current asset ratio with liabilities almost covered twice over.
The article concluded, that the stock seems poised to rise further as demand exceeds the supply of the stock on the Trinidad market.
At the close of the market on Wednesday November 8, 2017 the stock seems poised to suffer further decline and that shows up in the chart formation.

When the market speaks

Markets have a way of telling stories that confound many. In May 2014of that year, the local market declined to reach 76,344.27 points on June 23, after reaching 86,590 points in mid-March.
Some investors thought the market was going to crash with some pulling funds out and moving into foreign exchange investments. The technical reading pointed in a different direction, the market by then had hit bottom and was not only heading up but much, much higher. One big clue, the market was caught in a triangular formation, a tell-tale sign of a big break out. The signal was very clear from September.
An article published on this site in September 2014 said “Technically, the main market is seeing the short term moving average on the verge of crossing the medium term moving average, a bullish sign. Importantly, many listed companies have posted some attractive results for 2014 that is supportive of an upward push in their stock price.” The rest is history as the market slowly crept higher to 84,084.94 and the slow recovery morphed into a strong bull market starting early in 2015.
Recently, the market has been sending out strong signals, one is that the main market is heading for the 500,000 points market, that is 60 percent away from the current level. The other signal to have emanated from the market, was the clear message that was pointing the major error the directors of Berger Paints were making in recommending the sale of shares by minority shareholders.

The stock market is sending a very strong message that a stock split is inevitable for NCB Financial by early 2018.

The market sent the message but some investors did not listen resulting in the surrender of 6.6 million units at a vastly reduced value to its true valuation. It is not surprising that the stock now trades at $15
At an investors’ briefing this year, the NCB Financial Group’s executives said they saw no benefit to the company of a stock split. IC Insider.com had written a piece indicating that a split is baked into the price already and could not be avoided. On Friday and Monday, the market sent and even clearer message to the directors that it cannot be delayed with the stock price jumping record $108 with only small amounts being offered for sale.