Top 15 Junior market stocks for 2019

Selection of stocks is not isolated from the environment in which the companies operate. Accordingly, investors need to take developments in the wider economy and in certain sectors that can impact profit.
The data available suggest that Junior Market stocks should do better than those in the main market, in 2019. The TOP 15 Junior market stocks, selected based on the lowest PE ratio, using 2019 projected earnings and stock prices at the start of the year, are listed below.
AMG Packaging – PE 6. AMG suffered from losses incurred in their venture into the production of toilet tissue that failed, resulted in losses and dragging down profit in the box making business. Now that the segment of the business is closed, focus can be on their core business for which there is demand. Revenues should grow along powered by growth in the wider economy. The company reported a big jump in profit for the first quarter to November, from an increase in revenues and improved profit margin. The earnings projected is that for the fiscal year that ends in June 2020, when they would have implemented price adjustments to recover the fall in profit margin. IC Insider.com sees management as a weak area of its operation. Hopefully, changes in the composition of the board will address this frontally. Since the start of the year the price has moved up to $2.70 in response to the strong gains in the first quarter profit.Caribbean Cream – PE 9. The company enjoyed increased sales for the nine months to November last year but with flat sales in the second quarter and pick up in the third quarter. Importantly, the raw material prices for a number of production items fell sharply on the world market and will lower cost for them. The latest is the fall in the price of crude oil that will result in cheaper electricity cost as well and as JPS switches to lower electricity production the savings should gather steam during the year. The combination of lower input cost and increased sales will make the stock a winner in the current year. An investment in the stock around the $5.50 level that it is trading at may not pay off until the second half on 2019 when higher profit is expected. Caribbean Producers – PE 6. The company has more going for it that it has so far
delivered. The interim report to September recorded a loss of $1.3 million, but that was mostly due to write down of computer software cost and cut in the selling prices of some items that affected profit margins negatively. The core business is not affected and margins were, restored in the second quarter. The company benefits from growth in the tourism sectors in both Jamaica and St Lucia where it operates.
General AccidentPE 4.5. Investors are not seriously looking at this stock but they should. The stock is undervalued based on a PE and net asset value. Up to September, the company posted strong gains in profit for the nine months. Reports suggest that the company is looking to expand outside of Jamaica. Increased premium rates and a large pool of investible funds, are expected to deliver higher revenues and profit for the company for awhile. Continued growth in the Jamaican economy will provide a basis for above average growth in premium income and profit.
Fontana – PE 10. The PE is 10 based on current fiscal year’s earning but 7 times based on the next fiscal year results. Investors are unlikely to get this stock in the secondary market close to the IPO price any time soon. Expansion plans will make it a good investment for long term investors if bough in the $3 region. The company will be opening their newest branch in Kingston by the second half of 2019. That will result in increased revenues and profit for the 2020 fiscal year that ends in June. They also have plans for the opening of 3 more stores in the island, when completed they will result in above average growth in revenues and profit.
Elite Diagnostic PE is 6. The company recorded increased cost in 2018 as expenses associated with two new branches impacted profit negatively. The second branch is now in operation and reporting profit, while the one to open in St Anns Bay in the middle of this year should lay the foundation for continued above average growth for another year or two.
Iron Rock Insurance – PE 6. Iron Rock made profit in the September quarter for the first time and was set to report a full year of profit. Moving into 2019, revenues from increased premium income and low overhead cost and growth in the local economy are set to land a decent profit for them.
ISP Finance – PE 6. One of the smaller micro lenders ISP continues to grow and had to float a new bond to raise funds to service increased demand for loans. The September 2018 quarterly results show that interest rates charged on loans fell and that may have helped in stimulating increased demand. Loans should continue to rise and profit as well going into 2019, as cash flow from profits is invested in new loans.
Jamaican Teas – PE 7.5. The group will benefit from continued growth in the local economy and increased purchasing power of Jamaicans. The star performer, export sales have grown healthily for a number of years and should continue the growth path again. Added to this, some cost incurred in 2018, are unlikely to repeat in 2019. Importantly, accounting policy IAS 9 will see all gains or losses on investments being booked through the regular profit and loss statement and that could lift profit in 2019 as local stocks continue to grow in value.
Lasco Financial – PE 6.5. The company continues to earn from Money transfer business but the real growth potential rest in the micro lending area that enjoys high profit margin. The area is crowded but entities with size can have an advantage. Additionally, Lasco has a wide network of branches, used to reach a wide potential group for granting loans.
Lasco Manufacturing – PE 8. New products and the streamlining of the business with potential for more product lines that can be added make this entity a compelling long term investment.
Medical disposables – PE 7.5. The company started as a distributor of medical and pharmaceutical distributors but has now broadened their offering to involve consumer products. The base is established for a wider range of products, using a lot of the existing infrastructure that is adding to the attractiveness of the stock. Results for the June quarter showed strong increased revenues and profit but their usually slow second quarter saw modest increased revenues and flat profit. Importantly, gross profit increased well ahead of the growth in revenues and but for a big increase in foreign exchange losses, profit in quarter and six months would have climbed strongly. Revaluation of the Jamaican dollar in the December quarter will result in a reversal of some of the foreign exchange losses.

Stationery & Office Supplies MoBay Office

PTL- PE 7.5. The company reported growth in revenues for the half year to November resulting in improvement in gross profit. Administrative cost grew higher than revenues with depreciation accounting for 25 percent of the increased cost. The company’s joint venture lubricant plant, was operational during the period and resulted in cost and revenues excluded from the six months results but included in the 2017 figures.  Only the company’s share of profit is now included in the results amounting to $2 million. The company had moved into the repackaging of chlorine and bleach production in 2018. The last quarterly results have not shown much increased business from these two ventures, while they incurred increased staff cost to serve the market. Major improvement in profit, is not expected until the 2020 fiscal year that starts in June 2019 and will probably hold back the stock price for the greater part of the year.
Stationery and Office Supplies – PE 6. SOS delivered two good years on the Junior Market for early investors. IC Insider.com is forecasting another year of strong stock gains for the company. The company moved into the production of exercise books, mostly for schools and added note pads for the local and overseas markets.  Other products could be added to their line up in 2019.   
tTech – PE 6. Results for the September quarter almost doubled, with earnings per share reaching 12 cents, versus 6 cents in 2017, with operating revenues rising an attractive 25 percent. Profit for 2018 should hit 40 cents for the year. Management indicates that they are proactive in seeking new business locally and overseas and sees past marketing effort to attract new business now bearing fruit.

Access & Iron Rock back into IC Top 10

Thee are no change to the TOP 10 main market list. The Junior Market has two changes with Iron Rock Insurance and Access Financial returning to the TOP 10, while Stationery and Office Supplies (SOS) and Dolphin Cove moved out.
IC Insider.com lowered the earnings per share for the two that moved out, based on the most recent release of interim results. In addition, SOS moved up in price following the release of nine months results.
Last week’s big new the entry, Scotia Group moved from $50 to close at $55.95 and now awaits the full year results which be out soon, for more direction. Based on IC Insider.com forecast Scotia is set to earn around $4.60 for the 2018 year to October with the PE at just 11 times earnings.
Earnings for General Accident have been adjusted down to 40 cents per share with the latest results now out, but it still holds on to the TOP 10.
The main market closed the week with the overall PE remains at 15.3, the PE of the Junior market is at 15.6 from the prior week.
The PE ratio for Junior Market Top 10 stocks average 9.4 and the main market PE is now 9.7.
The TOP 10 stocks now trade at an average discount of 40 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. The main market stocks trade at a discount of 37 percent to the overall market.
TOP 10 stocks are likely to deliver the best returns within a 12 months period. Stocks are selected based on projected earnings for each company’s current fiscal year. Based on an assumed PE for each, the likely gains are determined and then ranked, with the stocks with the highest potential gains ranked first followed by the rest, in descending order. Potential values will change as stock prices fluctuate and will result in movements of the selection in and out of the lists for most weeks. Earnings per share are revised on an ongoing basis based on new information received that can result in changes in and out of the list as well.

Iron Rock’s first profitable quarter

Iron Rock hits 52 weeks’ high of $4.07 on Friday.

Improvement in its bottom-line of Iron Rock Insurance continued into the September quarter, with profit of $1.1 million, the first quarterly profit in its short history. For the nine months’ period, the company suffered a loss of just $7.6 million down from $60.4 million in 2017.
For the quarter, gross premium income (GPI) increased to $99.4 million from $83.9 million in 2017 with net premium written of $41 million and net earned premium of $48.3 million. For the nine months of 2018, GPI grew 48 percent to $382 million, up from $257 million in 2017 and net earned premium increased 272 percent to $129 million from just $47 million in 2017.
Operating expenses inched up to $36.5 million in the quarter from $35 million in 2017 and grew 11 percent to $111 million from $100 million in 2017. Insurance claims jumped to $23 million from $12 million for the quarter and $61 million for the nine months, from $34 million last year.
Other income totaled $13.5 million for the quarter, from $10 million previously and $35 million for the period to September, versus $24 million. The company is projected to end the year with an overall profit.
Shareholders’ equity now stands at $525 million, down from $512 million at the end of September last year. Cash and investments now amount to $617 million, while Insurance liabilities, claims and other payables amount to $373 million.
The stock now trades on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange at $4.80.

Junior Market rise but sentiment negative

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Caribbean Flavours traded on the Junior Market at a record high of $21.

The Junior Market Index advanced by 12.92 points to close at 3,429.60 at the close of trading closed with 23 securities changing hands, resulting in the prices of 4 securities rising, 7 declining and 9 remaining unchanged.
Market sentiment closed negative on Wednesday and remains negative at the close of trading on Thursday as shown by the IC bid-offer Indicator with more stocks seeming poised to decline than rise by a good margin.
IC bid-offer Indicator| At the end of trading, the Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator reading had 5 stocks ending with bids higher than their last selling prices, 7 closed with lower offers.
Market activities, resulted in an exchange of 2,433,731 units valued at $8,326,070, compared to 28,223,468 units valued at $66,146,106 trading on Wednesday.
Trading closed with an average of 105,814 units for an average of $362,003 in contrast to 1,045,314 units for an average of $2,449,856 on Wednesday. Trading for the month to date averages 502,180 units for an average of $2,737,706 and on the prior trading day, an average of 521,373 units for an average of $2,852,740. Trading in August, averaged 244,613 units at $1,348,298 for each security traded.
At the close of trading, AMG Packaging ended with the exchanging of 372,400 stock units, and rising 4 cents higher to close at $1.94, Blue Power fell 5 cents to end at $6.50, trading 22,662 units, CAC2000 finished with the trading of 29,525 shares at $15, Caribbean Flavours traded 3,000 stock units to close $1 higher at $19, after hitting an all-time high of $21. Derrimon Trading ended with a loss of 9 cents at $2.85, with 160,500 shares changing hands. Elite Diagnostic finished with a loss of 9 cents at $3.02, after exchanging 37,358 stock units, Everything Fresh closed trading with 108,150 shares changing hands at $2.10. Express Catering ended trading 82,267 shares at $8.20, FosRich Group traded with a loss of 10 cents at $3.60, with 8,726 shares, GWest Corporation closed 10 cents higher at $2.10, in the exchange of 10,000 stock units. Honey Bun ended at $4, with 10,927 units being exchanged, Indies Pharma lost 1 cent with 834,773 shares changing hands to close at $3.39. Iron Rock concluded trading of 210,000 shares, at $4.50, Jamaican Teas settled with a loss of 15 cents at $4.85, with 10,977 shares traded, Jetcon Corporation ended trading 13,860 stock units and lost 30 cents to end at $3.80. KLE Group finished trading at $4, with 300 shares, Knutsford Express closed at $12.50, in the swapping of 1,600 shares, Lasco Distributors ended at $4, exchanging 56,900 shares, Lasco Financial concluded trading 51,530 stock units and rose 2 cents higher to $5.50. Lasco Manufacturing finished at $4, exchanging 5,875 units, Main Event settled with a loss of 30 cents at $6.10, after 3,063 shares traded and Stationery and Office finished trading at $9, with 37,276 stock units changing hands.
Prices of securities trading for the day are those at which the last trade took place.

Iron Rock improvement continues

IronRock Insurance reports vastly improved results for the second quarter and the six months period to June from rising revenues and stable administrative cost.
A loss of $4 million was incurred for the June quarter and $8.6 million for the half year compared to a loss of $19 million and $46 million in June quarter and half year in 2017 respectively.
The vastly improved bottom-line flowed from gross written premium for the half year rising 63 percent to $282 million, from $173 million in 2017 and net earned premium increasing 248 percent to $80 million, up from: $23 million in 2017. For the second quarter premium rose at a slower pace of 14 percent to $127 million and net premium income moved 213 percent from $13 million to $42 million.
Operating expenses rose to $74 million from $65 million in 2017 and moved from $33 million to $36 million in the June quarter. Insurance damages claimed $38 million for the half year, up from $21 million in 2017 and increased claims from $9 million in the June 2017 quarter to $21 million in 2018, leading to reduced underwriting loss of $30 million versus $61 million in the corresponding in 2017. Other income for the period rose to $22 million from $14 million for the 2017 period and for the June quarter, moved from $8 million to $11 million. Shareholders’ equity inched up from $512 million to $514 million helped by unrealised gains of $10 million in the equity portfolio. Total assets stood at $988 million and comprise cash and investments of $602 million, while liabilities include $360 million for claims provision.
The stock last traded at $3.10 and could enjoy some gains going forward as company extend the improvement in both the top and bottom-lines.

More Junior stocks rise than fall – Thursday

Caribbean Producers traded 52 weeks’ high on Thursday.

The Junior Market Index declined 15.45 points to close at 2,917.69, as 22 securities traded, with 9 stocks rising, 7 declining while 6 remained unchanged.
Market activity ended with two highs and 2 new lows as Caribbean Producers (CPJ) and Stationery and Office (SOS) jumped to new highs and GWest and Derrimon Trading 9% preference fell to new lows. Investors pushed SOS to new high based on expected good first quarter results while they responded to increased profits at CPJ.
IC bid-offer Indicator|At the end of trading, the Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator reading shows 7 stocks ending with bids higher than their last selling prices and only 1 with a lower offer.
At the close of market activities, 1,858,849 units valued at $9,781,521 changed hands in contrast to Wednesday, when 19 securities were traded resulting in 1,096,815 units valued at $3,914,766.
Market activity ended with an average of 84,493 units for an average of $444,615 in contrast to 57,727 units for an average of $206,040 on Wednesday. The average volume and value for the month to date amounts to 89,483 units with an average value of $350,843 and previously 90,161 units with an average value of $338,109. April closed with an average of 121,622 units at $506,803, for each security traded.
At the close of the market, AMG Packaging ended 2 cents higher at $2.02, with 783 stock units traded, Caribbean Flavours closed at $12, while exchanging 12,323 stock units, Caribbean Producers finished trading 66 cents higher to a 52 weeks’ high of $5.95, with 154,000 units, Consolidated Bakeries rose 10 cents to $1.95, with 25,000 shares, C2W Music ended at 45 cents, with 83,363 shares. Derrimon Trading concluded trading 30 cents higher at $9.75, with 3,670 shares, Elite Diagnostic inched up by 1 cent at $3.26, with 34,366 units, Eppley ended trading with a loss of 2 cents at $9.20, with 438,296 shares, Express Catering traded at $5.65, with 116,168 shares. FosRich Group finished trading 5 cents higher at $2.35, with 40,874 shares, General Accident closed 9 cents higher at $3.24, with 14,650 stock units, GWest Corporation ended with a loss of 14 cents to end at a an all-time low at $2.16, with 95,500 units, Iron Rock finished at $3, with 400,000 shares. KLE Group closed with a loss of 15 cents at $2.35, with 511 shares, Knutsford Express ended with a loss of 50 cents at $12.50, with 10,000 shares, Lasco Distributors concluded trading with a loss of 6 cents at $4.25, with 51,461 stock units, Lasco Financial finished at $5.50, with 313,128 units. Lasco Manufacturing settled with a loss of 10 cents at $3.90, with 27,000 shares, Main Event ended trading 19 cents higher at $7, with 400 shares, Medical Disposables traded at $5, with 9,000 shares and Stationery and Office climbed by 70 cents to a an all-time high of $7, with 5,376 units. In the junior market preference segment, Derrimon Trading 9% ended with a loss of 10 cents close at an all-time low of $1.90, with 22,980 stock units, changing hands.
Prices of securities trading for the day are those at which the last trade took place.

Iron Rock post vast improved results

Iron Rock experienced strong growth in the first quarter this year with gross written premium increasing 150 percent to $155 up from $62 million in 2017.
The company generated a loss for the period of $4.6 million well below the loss of $27.3 million recorded in the previous year’s March quarter. Net earned premium also rose sharply to $38.4 million from $9.7 million in the first quarter of 2017 for an increase of 296 percent. Other income consisted primarily of investment income for the period totalled $10.5 million 2017 of $6.2 million.
Claims Incurred for the quarter increased 36 percent to $17.3 million from $12.7 million in 2017. Operating Expenses 21 percent to $37.6 million from $31 million in 2017. The company incurred a reduced Underwriting Loss of $15 million versus a loss of $33.5 million in 2017.
The stock ended at $3 on Junior Market fell at the close of trading on Thursday.

Iron Rock & 2 others in TOP 10

The Junior Market continues to fight for the 2018 rally to take root and grow even as interest rates are at their lowest in decades. Technical reading of this market shows the short term 45 day moving average (DMA) has crossed over the 120 DMA, a bullish sign as the market is coming from an oversold position.
With many Junior Market stocks having risen sharply in the last twelve months, it would require gains in profit above most of the recent postings to have pushed prices much higher in the short term. In a number of instances, some junior listed companies are focusing on expansion that will not bear fruit immediately and with some of the stocks pricing in these development into prices already, there are no new information to move prices in the short term. Results for the 2018 first quarter will therefore be critical in determining the performance of the market for the first half of the year.Stationery and Office Supplies got a shot in the arm from audited financial statements to December 2018, showing strong gains in revenues and profit, compared to 2016 and saw the price moving back up to $5.50 and its position in the TOP list down to 8 from number 2 in February. It won’t be long before it drops out of the list as demand push the price higher. General insurance underwriters Iron Rock is now in the list, following improved 2017 results that benefited from strong revenues growth that augurs well for earnings in 2018. The company should also benefit from rising premium rates. Paramount Trading is back in the list and so too is AMG Packaging having disposed of its machinery in the tissue operations and cut cost it in it as well from the closure of that business line. Going into the 2019 fiscal year it should be rid of most of the cost of that operations and therefore focus on the container boxes to meet the existing increased demand. Out goes Dolphin Cove with lower than projected earnings being reported for 2017, followed by Blue Power and tTech with lower results for 2017 than previously projected, that will likely negatively affect 2018 earnings for these companies.
At the close of Friday, the average PE ratio for Junior Market Top stocks ended at 6.3 compared to an average PE for the overall main market is 10 based on 2018 estimated earnings.
IC Insider.com’s TOP 10 stocks now trade at an average discount of 37 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.

Trading picks up in Junior stocks

Trading picked up on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange on Thursday with 22 securities changing hands, resulting in an exchange of 1,766,060 units valued at $7,828,514 compared to 726,097 units valued at $5,040,854, from 18 securities on Wednesday.
At the close of market activities, the prices of 6 securities advanced, 10 declined and 6 remained unchanged. The Junior Market Index declined by 22.03 points to close at 3,044.50. The prices of two securities hit 52 weeks’ high with one ending at a record close.
Trading ended with an average of 80,275 units for an average of $355,842 in contrast to 40,339 units for an average of $280,047 on Wednesday. The average volume and value for the month to date amounts to 115,661 units valued at $565,207 and previously 118,172 units valued at $580,065. In contrast, October closed with average of 74,690 units valued at $362,548 for each security traded.
IC bid-offer Indicator| At the end of trading, the Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator reading shows 4 stocks ended with bids higher than their last selling prices and 2 with lower offers.
At the close of the market, CAC 2000 finished with a loss of 7 cents at $6.50, with 38,000 shares, Caribbean Cream finished with a loss of 5 cents at $5.55, with just 500 shares trading, Caribbean Producers traded 45 cents higher at $4.50, with 770,491 units, after trading at a 52 weeks’ high of $4.99, Consolidated Bakeries finished at $2.05, with 1,470 shares as the stock seems to be finally responding to the poor results released this year. C2W Music ended with a loss of 9 cents at $0.40, with 1,000 stock units, Express Catering ended at $4.40, with 14,476 stock units, Eppley concluded trading $1.49 higher at $11.50, with 806 units, General Accident finished with a loss of  2 cents at $2.70, with 68,981 shares. Honey Bun settled at $4.80, with 11,554 shares, Iron Rock closed with a loss of 1 cent at $2.80, with 22,038 shares, Jamaican Teas traded 40 cents higher at $4.20, with 867 units, Jetcon Corporation finished trading with a loss of 10 cents at $4.50, with 184,554 shares, Knutsford Express closed at $13.50, with 2,000 shares. Key Insurance ended 76 cents higher at a 52 weeks’ high of $4.75, with 19,362 stock units changing hands, KLE Group concluded trading at $2.51, with 50,022 units, Lasco Distributors settled 8 cents higher at $5.98, with 27,534 shares. Lasco Financial ended trading at $6.50, with 60,317 stock units, Lasco Manufacturing traded with a loss of 12 cents at $4.05, with 8,138 units, Medical Disposables finished trading with a loss of 20 cents at $5.10, with 2,000 shares, Main Event closed 38 cents higher at $5.89, with 54,026 shares, Paramount Trading concluded trading with a loss of 20 cents at $3.50, with 256,698 units and Stationery and Office ended trading with a loss of 7 cents at $5.13, with 171,226 stock units.

Prices of securities trading for the day are those at which the last trade took place.

Juniors slip but Knutsford at new high

Knutsford Express traded at a new high of $15 on Wednesday after the 5 for 11 stock split took effect.

The Junior Market index declined moderately on Wednesday but after Knutsford Express hit a new all-time high of $15 after the stock started trading ex split with investors now having 5 units where they had 1 before.
The market index slipped 12.77 points to close at 3,331.90 to be up 28.5 percent for 2017 to date. A total of 20 securities traded of which 7 advanced and only 4 declined as 1,267,600 units valued $7,528,786 traded compared to 22 securities trading on Tuesday with 2,377,774 units valued $14,077,973 changing hands.
At the close of trading, 8 stocks having bids higher than their last sale prices and 3 with lower offers.
The Junior Market ended trading with an average of 63,380 units for an average value of $376,439 compared to 108,081 units for an average value of $639,908, on the previous trading day. The average volume and value for the month to date are 89,339 units and $596,722 while at the close of the prior trading day it was 90,467 units and $607,211, well below the levels for April with averages of 502,597 units and $2,768,003.
At the close of the market, AMG Packaging fell 44 cents and ended at $4.55 with 2,111 units changing hands, Blue Power closed at $53.50 with 1,330 units changing hands, after climbing $1.50, CAC 2000 lost 80 cents and closed at $7.20 with 3,000 shares trading, Caribbean Cream closed trading with 413,469 units to end at $7.50, after dropping 90 cents, Caribbean Flavours ended trading 1,355 units to end at $12, Caribbean Producers rose 29 cents with 100,407 units changing hands at $3.79, Consolidated Bakeries rose 30 cents trading 6,000 shares to close at $2.75, Eppley had 69,369 units changing hands to close of $12, General Accident closed trading with 19,600 shares to end at $2.90, Honey Bun had just 260 shares changing hands and closed at $6.93 after falling 57 cents, Iron Rock Insurance gained 5 cents in trading 61,538 shares to end at $3.20, Jamaican Teas dropped 69 cents and closed trading with 50,567 shares, at $4. Jetcon Corporation climbed $1.30 to end at $14.80 with 44,161 shares trading, Knutsford Express started trading for the first time after the 5 for 1 stock split and closed with 5,262 shares trading at $15 with a gain of $1.40. Lasco Distributors rose 24 cents and ended with 1,150 units trading at $7.20, Lasco Manufacturing closed at $5.20 in trading 81,983 shares. Main Event fell 70 cents and ended trading of 42,690 shares at $6.50, Medical Disposables dropped 65 cents after posting earnings of 38 cents per share compared to 37 cents in 2016 and ended at $5.15 with 24,215 units trading, Paramount Trading ended with a fall of 20 cents as 344,936 shares changed hands at $3.10 and tTech had 3,665 units changing hands at $7.50.