ISP jumps 94% & Lasco Distributors 70%

ISP Finance the leading price mover in the Junior Market jumped 94 percent for the year, to the end of September while Lasco Distributors soared 70% followed by Main Event, with a solid gain of 58 percent, Caribbean Assurance Brokers rose a robust 56 percent and Regency Petroleum up a respectable 46 percent and cross country passenger mover, Knutsford Express, 45 percent, to close out the top six winners against a decline by just 0.7 percent for the Junior Market over the same period.
The performance comes even as Jamaica’s Central Bank maintained a very tight monetary policy with interest rates on Certificate of Deposits close to 10 percent for most of the year so far.
Relatively high interest rates were only one part of the negative drag on the market. Profit results released during the period for several companies were lower than the comparative period in 2022 and investors hammered those stocks and by extension pressured the market index but rewarded most companies with growing profits, with higher prices.
Junior Market performance was vastly better than the Main Market with most of the top ten companies recording b increase in profits for the first half of the year over 2022.
ISP Finance, a microfinancing company led the Junior Market following news that two new directors with experience in the financial service sector and who had worked with in the past in arranging deals for them were appointed to the board. There was also speculation that the majority shares could probably change hands sooner rather than later. There is also the expectation for increased lending to customers is expected to impact revenues and profit positively following a decline in the half year profit when loans jumped to nearly a billion dollars from under $800 million. Lasco Distributors profits for the fiscal year to March jumped and was followed by improved results in the June Quarter as investors rewarded the performance with s solid price movement. Main Event continued to recover from the damage to revenues and profits during the COVID, bouncing back as profit more than doubled to $216 million from $104 million for the nine months to July. Movement in Caribbean Assurance Brokers’ stock price follows profit jumping from just $4.5 million in the June 2022 half year to $18 million this year. Regency Petroleum profit fell from $51 million to $25 million for the half year but hope for improved profits drove the stock with new gas stations being opened or to be opened. General Accident migrated from the Junior Market to the Main Market on the last day of the month, with the increased stock price spurred by profit surging 195 percent to $165 million in the 2023 half year.
Indies Pharma profit declined moderately for the nine months to June but was up 16 percent in the latest quarter, that performance does not warrant a 34 percent cut in the stock price to September but investors seem impatient with the progress of the company growth. Fesco stock price declined sharply for the period even as the net profits for the June quarter were marginally higher than that of the similar 2022 period, with revenues marginally higher. The stock price pulled back from heady levels in 2022 to adjust to the earnings in the last fiscal year of just under 23 cents per share with indications that it may not significantly improve in the current fiscal year to warrant the high premium it had in 2022. Fosrich, on the other hand, had a sharp decline in profits for the second quarter and the half year but it too enjoyed a big premium in the stock price in 2022, investors readjusted their expectations by marking the price down, although both stocks got a two day bounce at the end of September that improved their performance year to date. Lasco Financial had a third less profit in the 2023 fiscal year than the prior year and reported vastly poorer results in the third quarter to June and that seemed to have encouraged more selling of the stock. Revenues and profit bounced in the third quarter for Limners and Bards but are still down year to date compared with last year and that did not help the stock that lost value during the period. Edufocal profit bounced in 2023 and may not necessarily justify the 38 percent fall in the stock price, while iCreate had totally disastrous results in the 2022 fiscal year as well as in the first half of 2023, with the company’s performance continuing to raise questions about its future. Elite and CAC 2000 suffered a reversal in fortune that is reflected in the decline in stock prices of both companies.

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