Lousy 2019 for Junior Market stocks

Junior Market trades

Junior Market did not end 2019 with glory splashed all over it with the market for small and medium-size companies, gaining just 3.1 percent in 2019, down from 18.8 percent in 2018 and 24.3 percent in 2017.
While the premier stocks rose appreciably in 2019, stocks on the Junior Market faltered in its performance in 2019, with the price of only one stock listed on the market at the end of 2018 doubling in value in 2019 and another coming close, with a rise of 97 percent. The Junior Market that saw a half of its listings declining in the year had just four stocks gaining over 100 percent. Three new listings in the Junior Market occupied the top three positions.  Fontana, pharmacy operators, was the top performer and closed the year at $7.30 with a rise of 288 percent on the expectation that the new store at Waterloo Road that opened in the December quarter, will boost income and profit in the 2020 fiscal year. The second-best performer, the advertising and production company – Limners and Bards, was listed in summer and delivered a 200 percent increase for investors who bought the stock at the IPO stage. The recently listed MailPac Group, with gains of 111 percent from the IPO price of $1 took up the number three position.
Honey Bun fresh from the expansion of its bakery operations and a 20.4 percent growth in revenues in the September quarter and profit after tax rising 67 percent for the full 2019 fiscal year, doubled in price with a 103 percent increase. Elite Diagnostic is the sole Junior Market stock from the 2018 TOP 10 to remain in the TOP 10 in 2019. tTech 6th worse performer in 2018, made it to the 2019 Top 10 in the eight position. Jetcon Corporation, the number 9 worse performer and GWest Corporation at number 10 in 2018 again ended in the worse ten performing stocks in 2019, in fourth for GWest and 10th position for Jetcon.
One major reason for the divergence for the performances of the Main Market and the Junior Market is to be found it the valuation multiple for both markets.
While both markets close 2018, with PE ratios around 16 times 2018 earnings the market moved decidedly in different paths with Main Market stocks approaching PE ratio around 20 leaving the Junior Market at just over 14.

Gains fin the Junior Market peaked at 12.8% on August 14 and drifted down since.

Interest rates, in Jamaica, fell again in 2019, with Treasury bill rates that started the year at just over two percent falling to 1.5 percent by year-end. This single move would have encouraged institutional investors to switch focus from money market instruments to stocks. The stocks they would have gone into would be the more established Main Market stocks rather than Junior Market ones. Added to that factor, is the fact the with increased IPOs into the market many individual investors sold stocks to buy into the new issues, leaving less money available for previously listed stocks.

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