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 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 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.

Case against hanging on to stocks

Many stocks listed are undervalued based on projected earnings but many offer attractive potential gains but the likely gains are inadequate to put them into the TOP 15. So attractive is the market that many below the TOP 15 have potential to gain in excess of 50 percent in 2019.
Not all growth companies will deliver the same level of returns, a feature of markets that investors need to bear in mind to optimize return on investment. Expansion of smaller companies can have a far more telling impact on profit that larger ones. For example, Grace Kennedy would need to acquire a large entity to make a big improvement to its profit than the typical Junior Market company that are vastly smaller but could acquire a business that will make a big impact on profits.
The 80/20 Rule in the market suggest that only around 2 out of the Top 10 stocks repeat in the subsequent year, this is the results from nearly 40 years of tracking the market. The data shows that around 40 percent of the worst performing stocks in a year are likely to enter the TOP 10 in the subsequent year. What the data suggest is that investors need to be careful in identifying top performing stocks and that top performers with above average growth are likely to come from the worst performers of the prior year.  The year 2018 was unusual with three stocks repeating their 2017 top 10 appearance from the Junior Market and four in the main market. The Junior Market had C2W renamed SSL Venture Capital repeating and in the main market 5 repeated including Pulse Investments and Palace Amusement.
Half of the Junior Market TOP 15 list have either acquired new businesses or actively expanded operation in the past year or plan expansion in the coming year and a boost in revenues and profit is expected. The average PE ratio for the Junior Market based on 2019 projected earnings is 12 but the market closed out 2018 at 16.5. This is an indication of how far the market may rise as well as the extent to which the top 15 stocks are undervalued.

PE expansion highly likely in 2019

An overall view of stocks indicates that the main market continues to be steered higher by an upward sloping support line as well the 45 and 125 day moving averages, lending support just below. The Junior Market is currently guided by an upward rising long-term support line, pointing to more gains ahead.
The market is also supported by a golden cross. The  golden cross is a strong bullish long-term signal. The market needs the fuel of rising profits.
Profit performance, in 2018 was mixed, but helped move some stocks higher, falling interest rates however, pushed up PE ratios to 16.5 times 2018 earnings by year end, up from 14 at the end of 2017. PE ratios on average are set to rise above current levels toward 20 in 2019. The Junior Market has 10 stocks and the main market has 6, trading around and above this level. Investors seem more at ease with higher PE ratio than in the past, with interest rates now around 2 percent and economic stability now in the system.
Local economic performance should have a positive impact on profit of most companies as demand grows in the system from greater employment that is expected to continue growing in 2019 as well as increased disposable income.
Nine IPOs made it to the market in the year with three in December, giving investors more investment choices than in 2017, with even more to come in 2019. ICreate will be the first IPO in 2019, but that is a new company, then Wigton Wind Farm’s IPO will be launched early 2019, but it is not one for all investors, as it is mainly an income play. However,

Junior Market stocks should out perform JSE main market stocks in 2019

there are others, namely, a central Jamaica manufacturing entity with a strong export base, the possibility of a paint company plus one in the BPO sector. IC gathers that there are at least another three IPOs, that should make it to the market this year, but the Jamaica Stock Exchange is expecting 21 new listings for the year, including preference shares.
Business mergers and acquisitions are likely as some companies shed smaller segments of their operations and others, getting together for greater economies of scale. Stocks comprise different features. Growth plays an important role in many stock selections; examples are Access Financial Services, Elite Diagnostic, Fontana, Derrimon Trading, Jamaica Producers, Kingston Wharves, NCB Financial, PanJam Investment, Paramount Trading, as they grow by acquisition and expansion of current facilities. Carreras is a value play with good dividend yield along with Grace Kennedy.

Indies shareholders exposed to tax risk

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Indies Pharma reported lower profit for the year to October as slower gains in second half revenues and a more meager profit margin sapped the contribution from the increased sales.
While the company needs to sort out the loss in profit margin. There is also another big issue directors need to deal with. Included in receivables is shareholders’ loan of $136 million with no movement in the year and no information in the audited statements of terms relating thereto including the date for liquidation. IC source suggest that the recent two large blocks of shares of approximately 115 million units traded in the market this week, is a move to clear off the balance and that should show in the March quarterly report.
Additionally, directors owe the company $37 million, an amount that increased during the year. The company needs to clean up the balance sheet as it could be subject to taxes on distribution for the amount owed to the company by directors and possibly the shareholders. The other factor is that it appears that these amounts are free of interest. Other related party indebtedness also needs regularising with specific terms for transparency.
Profit for the full year is down to $120 million after tax, from $137 million in 2017. At the half way mark, profit was $54 million versus $52 million in 2017, the growth in profit for the 2018 second half was less than in 2017.
Revenues from sales grew just 2.5 percent for the year, down from 9.9 percent at the half-year mark. Cost of sales rose 16.6 percent for the full year compared to the 17.5 percent at April, but with sharply differing sales growth. The net effect is a fall in gross profit for the full year to $393 million from $412 million in 2017. Gross profit improved to $187 million at the 2018 half-way mark, from $177 million in 2017.
Administrative cost was virtually flat at the end of April at $110 million versus $108 million and climbed 6.7 percent to $240 million for the year. Finance cost, inclusive of foreign exchange losses, was flat at $16 million for the year.
As the company listed on the Junior Market, the corporate tax bill is down to $18 million, from $35 million in 2017.
The statement of financial position reflects pretty strong financials, with equity capital of $668 million, strong working capital including $102 million of liquid funds.
Indies last traded at $3.35 on the Junior Market, based on these results the PE ratio would be 37 but investors are looking for a brighter 2019 results.

Heavy demand for Fontana shares

Fontana shares are now listed on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with bids now in to purchase 7.7 million shares up $2.50 prior to the opening of trading. There is just one offer at $4 to sell 4,500 shares.
The heavy demand in in keeping with heavy over subscription the IPO received. A number of investors in the stock are not pleased that the company varied the terms of the allocation of shares to persons in the general pool from the stated treatments included in the prospectus that stated that multiple applications would be merged and treated as one.
The share issue attracted 2,770 applicants for shares in the company. The order book on the buy side is shown in the accompanying chart with orders at 10 am.
The PE based on last year’s earnings is a low 8, suggesting that a price in the mid $4 region or higher is likely, once it can trade at those levels. Subsequent to the time the attached chart was created, the highest bid is now at $2.60 to buy 130,000 units with total bids in the syetem to purchase 17.7 million shares. One more offer at $3.77 to sell 30,610 units was posted after trading commenced. The maximum price the stock can trade at today is $2.44, 30 percent above the IPO price of $1.88.

Fontana lists today

Fontana Waterloo Road

Fontana shares will list on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and will commence trading on Tuesday.
The shares that were well sort after will be in high demand with the price expected to jump sharply in a few days. A number of investors in the stock are not pleased that the company varied the terms of the allocation of shares to persons in the general pool from the stated treatments included in the prospectus that stated that multiple applications would be merged and treated as one.
Scotia Investments advised that they are currently in the process of disbursing refunds to applicants via transfers to each broker for their clients and expects to complete the majority of refunds during the week of January 7th.
The share issue attracted 2,770 applicants for shares in the company. Fontana brings to 38, companies listed on the Junior Market. In December, Eppley that was listed on the Junior Market moved over to the main market.

Big gains for 10 Junior Market stocks in 2018

While Junior Market stocks on the Jamaica Stock Exchange chalked up gains of just 18.8 percent overall for 2018, but 5 companies’ stock rose between 104 to 282 percent for the year.
SSl Venture Capital, formerly C2W Music raced to a gain of 282 percent to remain in the TOP 10 Junior Market stocks for the second consecutive year. The stock benefitted from new life given it, when Stocks and Securities acquired controlling interest in it, for use as a venture capital vehicle. The next best performing stock delivered gains of 213 percent as investors pushed Derrimon Trading to new heights after the company announced a 10 for one stock split and the acquisition of a subsidiary. CAC2000 captured the number 3 best performing spot, rising by 160 percent for the year, followed by the 2018new  listing, Indies Pharma, with gains of 113 percent, after investors drove the price to a record high of $4.10 to a gain of 173 percent from the IPO price of $1.50. Express Catering gained 104 percent to be one of 3 stocks to reappear in the top 10 for two consecutive years. Caribbean Flavours landed the 6th spot with a gain of 73 percent. Statinery & Office Supplies reappeared in the Top 10 with a rise of 69 percent. ISP Financial chipped in with a rise of 67 percent in 8th spot to be followed by the Montego Bay based, Cargo Handlers that chipped in with 50 percent and the early 2018 listed Elite Diagnostic, was tenth after rising 48 percent.
The worst performing stocks for 2018 included, GWest Corporation down 56 percent due mainly to the much lower revenues than previously forecasted and greater losses. Jetcon Corporation, one of the 2017 Top 10 stocks, came next with a loss of 39 percent as the company reported lower profits for the nine months to September than the prior year. The new 2018 listing, Everything Fresh, ended the first year on the Junior Market as the third worst performing stock with a fall of 39 percent, helped by poor third quarter results as well as coming to the market at an excessive valuation. AMG Packaging ended as the 4th worst performer as the price reflected the losses caused by the toilet tissue operations with a decline in the stock price by 37 percent as it followed tTech with a decline of 33 percent. Eppley that migrated to the main market on the last day of 2018, declined 24 percent to the 6th worse performer, while Lasco Financial lost altitude to close out 2018 as the 7th worse performing the Junior Market stock, with a  loss of 15 percent, just ahead of Knutsford Express at the 8th spot, with a fall of 13 percent, Sweat River fell 9 percent and Consolidated Bakeries ended at the 10th spot with a loss of 6 percent.



Big gains for JSE Monday

The main market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange surged 11,391.32 points on the All Jamaica Composite index (AJI) with nearly 2 hours of trading on Monday with the index at 417,227.47 points but pulled back from the day’s high of 421,063.54 points earlier after rising 15,227.39 points.
The JSE Index climbed 10,378.78 points to 380,141.40 but the Junior Market Index rose 47.45 points to 3,229.84.
NCB Financial traded at $150, Barita Investments traded at a new high of $55, Grace Kennedy at $68.50 and Sagicor Real Estate Fund jumped to $13.93.

IC Top 10 delivered rich 2018 gains

Barita Investments set to be 2018 best performing JSE stock.

With just one trading day left to go, before the 2018 ends, IC TOP 10 selections enjoyed some healthy gains during the year, with former top tenner Barita Investments set to top the year with stunning gains of 567 percent. Palace Amusement moved up 159 percent to $1,450 and Salada Foods with 218 percent gain.
In the Junior Market, CAC2000 climbed 160 percent, Caribbean Flavours rose 73 percent and Stationery and Office Supplies gained 64 percent. The TOP 10 also saw others with lesser gains than the above ones. The list includes Caribbean Cement, NCB Financial, Pan Jam Investments, Grace Kennedy, Sterling Investments, with all of them trading at record highs during the year, Iron Rock, Key Insurance and General Accident. The outstanding performer in the Junior Market for 2018, Derrimon Trading was on the TOP 10 list on November 17, last year, but moved to $8 from $6.50 at the end of the following week and then exited the list and climbed in 2018 after a stock split and acquisition of new business.
Lasco Financial is back in the Junior Market list, having fallen to $4.50, so too is Consolidated Bakeries with the price down to $1.75 and Stationery and Office Supplies with a price mow at $8.10. Out goes Medical Disposables, with the price at $7.50 along with Iron Rock and Jamaican Teas. In the main market TOP 10, Sagicor Group returns to the list replacing Sterling Investments that closed the week at $4.09.
The main market and the Junior Market closed the week with the overall PE at 15.9. The PE ratio for Junior Market Top 10 stocks average 9.2 and the main market PE is now 10. The top Junior Market stocks continue to sell at a discount to main market stocks even as the overall average PE for both markets are equal. This is an indication that there may be more gains to be had from these Junior market stocks than those in the main market.
The TOP 10 stocks now trade at an average discount of 42 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.

Fontana listing in January

Artist impression of Fontana Waterloo Road

Fontana shares are not likely to start trading until January. Feedback from the Jamaica Stock Exchange indicates that the listing committe that has to meet to approve the listing wont meet until next week. 

IC had previously reported that it would list today which was based on information gleaned from our sources. The shares allocated for the public pool that seems to be at variance with the terms of the propectus would need sorting out, before the shares are listed if in fact the allocation announced is different from the terms of the prospectus.