SOS back in, Lasco Financial out of TOP 10

Stationery & Office Supplies is back in the TOP 10 but could fall in prive this week before moving higher.

A number of companies reported results in the past week, with some in the TOP 10 not getting much help from the new information and some of the top stocks earnings being downgraded, based on new information conveyed by the latest results.
Lasco Financial posted a strong 37 percent rise in profit, from $162 million to $222 million, but with slightly lower March quarter profit of $55 million, from $62 million, based on sharply increased finance cost that rose from $2 million to $14 million, as revenues grew more than 41 percent in the quarter, from $288 million to $405 million. Based on the new numbers, IC places earnings for the current fiscal year at 50 cents per share or just around $650 million. The forecast is not enough to keep it in the Top 10 but it remains a solid buy, just below. Replacing Lasco Financial is Stationery and Office Supplies with the price pulling back during the week to close at $8.06. The price looks as if it could fall to the $6.50 region which would make it an even better buy.
All main market stocks remained in the top spots, but earnings for JMMB Group was downgraded following the March results and so too was Berger Paints. Radio Jamaica reported a loss in the March quarter and a loss for the full year, with a portion of the losses coming from one off items. The charge for depreciation and amortization is $255 million for the March 2018 fiscal year, well in excess of the loss reported for the year, resulting in a positive cash flow operation.
At the close of Friday, the average PE ratio for Junior Market Top stocks ended at 6 compared to an average PE for the overall main market of 11, based on 2018 estimated earnings. The main market PE is 7.6 for the top stocks, compared to a market average of 13.
IC’s TOP 10 stocks now trade at an average discount of 44 percent to the average for the Junior Market Top stocks but it’s a third of what the average PE for the year is likely to be of 20 times earnings and main market stocks traded at a discount of 41 percent to the market. Investors should keep an eye out for Scotia Group that should release half year results on Wednesday.

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