Junior Market shoots higher on Tuesday

Trading closed on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange Tuesday, with the volume of stocks traded, with an 81 percent decline and ended with a 71 percent decline in the value compared with that on Monday with trading in 42 securities compared with 40 on Monday and ending with prices of 15 rising, 21 declining and six closing unchanged.
The market closed with 4,278,021 shares being traded for $9,351,166 compared with 14,902,945 units at $48,199,902 on Monday.
Trading averaged 101,858 shares at $222,647, compared to 372,574 units at $1,204,998 on Monday with the month to date, averaging 223,206 units at $555,847 compared to 230,159 stock units at $574,939 on the previous day and January with an average of 175,081 units at $401,738.
EduFocal led trading with 1.04 million shares for 24.4 percent of the total volume followed by Stationery and Office Supplies with 698,934 units for 16.3 percent of the day’s trade and Tropical Battery with 482,246 units for 11.3 percent market share.
At the close of trading, the Junior Market Index popped 38.08 points to finish at 3,827.68 after trading in the region of 3,890 points in the morning session.
The Junior Market ended trading with an average PE Ratio of 13.1, based on last traded prices in conjunction with earnings projected by ICInsider.com for the financial years ending around August 2024.
Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator shows three stocks ended with bids higher than their last selling prices and one with a lower offer.
At the close, AMG Packaging dipped 61 cents to end at $3 in an exchange of 12,614 units, Blue Power lost 17 cents to close atone$3.13 with a mere 1 stock clearing the market, Caribbean Flavours climbed 9 cents and ended at $1.69 as investors exchanged 1,557 shares. Consolidated Bakeries skidded 18 cents in closing at $2.01 after 401 stock units crossed the market, Elite Diagnostic increased 9 cents to close at $1.68 after a transfer of 1,611 shares, Express Catering sank 12 cents to $3.83, with 8,382 units crossing the market. Future Energy popped 29 cents to end at $3.50 after an exchange of 197,647 stocks, Knutsford Express rallied 60 cents in closing at $12 with a transfer of 60 stock units, Lasco Distributors rose 24 cents to close at $4.35 while exchanging 50,879 shares. Lasco Financial dipped 12 cents to $1.81 in trading 51,043 units, Lasco Manufacturing shed 69 cents to close at $5.09 after 281,163 stocks crossed the exchange, Main Event declined 71 cents to end at $14 with investors transferring 8,491 stock units. Medical Disposables fell 16 cents in closing at $2.52 after an exchange of 65,001 shares, MFS Capital Partners lost 8 cents and ended at $2.20 after trading 125,362 stock units and Paramount Trading gained 15 cents to close at $1.49 with an exchange of just one stock.
Prices of securities trading are those for the last transaction of each stock unless otherwise stated.

Junior Market backs off 3,795 points peak

The Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange traded over 3,875 points in the early morning session on Friday, with Lasco Manufacturing hitting $6.14 when trading was halted but later pulled back after a big trade passed through the market on a day when the volume of stocks traded, declined 71 percent, with a 45 percent lower value than on Thursday, resulting in 45 securities changing hands compared with 43 on Thursday and ending with prices of 19 rising, 20 declining and six closing unchanged.
The market closed on Friday after 9,473,714 shares were exchange for $35,695,598 versus 32,133,533 units at $65,285,279 on Thursday.
Trading averaged 210,527 shares at $793,236, compared to 747,291 units at $1,518,262 on Thursday, with a month to date average of 221,939 units at $538,572 compared with 222,732 stocks at $520,887 on the previous day and better than January with an average of 175,081 units at $401,738.
Lasco Manufacturing led trading with 4.48 million shares for 47.2 percent of the total volume that traded, followed by Stationery and Office Supplies with 990,778 units for 10.5 percent of the day’s trade and Future Energy with 579,426 units for 6.1 percent market share.
At the close of trading, the Junior Market Index rallied 13.60 points to finish at 3,795.20 after hitting over 3,875 points in early trading, before the fall in the intraday price of Lasco Manufacturing from $6.14.
The Junior Market ended trading with an average PE Ratio of 12.9, based on last traded prices in conjunction with earnings projected by ICInsider.com for the financial years ending around August 2024.
Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator shows four stocks ended with bids higher than their last selling prices and one with a lower offer.
At the close, AMG Packaging fell 15 cents to close at $3.55 with an exchange of 11,657 stock units, CAC 2000 rallied 17 cents to $4, after 4 shares passed through the market, Cargo Handlers increased 51 cents to end at $14.51 in switching ownership of 1,744 stocks. Caribbean Cream dropped 9 cents in closing at $3.80 after an exchange of 107 units, Caribbean Flavours sank 8 cents and ended at $1.60 in trading 15,173 shares, Consolidated Bakeries popped 19 cents to $2.20, with 8,155 units changing hands. Derrimon Trading dipped 12 cents to close at $1.87 in an exchange of 11,021 stocks, Everything Fresh advanced by 9 cents to end at $1.68, with investors trading 103,479 stock units, Express Catering rose 18 cents to $3.98 while investors exchanged 72,863 shares. Future Energy lost 9 cents and ended at $3.51, with 579,426 units crossing the market, Honey Bun gained 20 cents to end at $6.85 with investors swapping 28,900 stocks, Jamaican Teas shed 13 cents and ended at $2.41 with a transfer of 1,525 stock units. Knutsford Express declined 60 cents in closing at $11.40 with investors dealing in 10,000 shares, Lasco Distributors climbed 35 cents to $4.35 in an exchange of 402,870 stock, Lasco Manufacturing skidded 36 cents to end at $5.09 after hitting a high of $6.14 during the morning session, with investors trading 4,476,083 units. Paramount Trading fell 25 cents to $1.30, after 10,851 stocks crossed the exchange, Regency Petroleum popped 10 cents to end at $2.20 with traders dealing in 164,976 shares, Spur Tree Spices shed 11 cents in closing at $2.29 as investors exchanged 357,294 units and tTech advanced 20 cents and ended at $2.22 with 10 stocks changing hands.
Prices of securities trading are those for the last transaction of each stock unless otherwise stated.

Trading drops on Junior Market

The Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange closed on Wednesday, with a 48 percent decline in the volume of stocks traded, with a 60 percent lower value than Tuesday with trading in 46 securities as was the case on Tuesday and ended with prices of 18 rising, 19 declining and nine closing unchanged, with KLE Group ending at a 52 weeks’ closing high of $2.48.
The Junior Market trading ended on Wednesday with 4,540,074 shares at $9,824,488 versus 8,723,426 units at $24,310,202 on Tuesday.
Trading averaged 98,697 shares at $213,576 compared with 189,640 units at $528,483 on Tuesday with the month to date, averaging 185,449 units at $449,999 compared with 192,588 stock units at $469,455 on the previous day and more than January with an average of 175,081 units at $401,738.
Dolla Financial led trading with 1.06 million shares for 23.3 percent of the total volume followed by ONE on ONE Educational with 837,365 units for 18.4 percent of the day’s trade and EduFocal with 373,478 units for 8.2 percent market share.
At the close of trading, the Junior Market Index rose 8.29 points to conclude trading at 3,803.26.
The Junior Market ended trading with an average PE Ratio of 13.1, based on last traded prices in conjunction with earnings projected by ICInsider.com for the financial years ending around August 2024.
Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator shows three stocks ended with bids higher than their last selling prices and three with lower offers.
At the close, AMG Packaging advanced 34 cents to $3.08 with an exchange of just one share, Cargo Handlers rose 90 cents and ended at $14, with 842 stocks crossing the market, Caribbean Assurance Brokers lost 27 cents to close at $2.11 with investors dealing in 4,001 shares. Caribbean Cream rallied 12 cents in closing at $3.89 in an exchange of 6 stock units, Consolidated Bakeries shed 19 cents to end at $2.01 with traders dealing in 101 shares, Dolla Financial sank 14 cents to $2.70 as investors exchanged 1,059,407 units. Dolphin Cove increased 30 cents to end at $18.80 after a transfer of 119 stocks, EduFocal climbed 10 cents in closing at $1.45 with 373,478 stock units clearing the market, Express Catering popped 9 cents to close at $3.99 while exchanging 124 shares. Fontana dipped 15 cents and ended at $9.79, with 17,099 units passing through the market, Future Energy gained 8 cents to $3.70 in trading 51,568 stocks, Honey Bun rose 25 cents and ended at $6.70, with 2,250 stock units crossing the market. Indies Pharma climbed 18 cents in closing at $2.75 with investors trading 42,965 shares, Iron Rock Insurance fell 42 cents to close at $2.10 in an exchange of 375 units, ISP Finance increased by 50 cents to end at $31.50, with 22,796 stock units changing hands. Lasco Distributors popped 13 cents to $4 after an exchange of 23,090 shares, Limners and Bards dropped 12 cents to close at $1.50 with investors swapping 38,046 shares, Mailpac Group gained 13 cents and ended at $2.30 in switching ownership of 74,668 stock units. Main Event skidded 65 cents in closing at $13.55 after an exchange of 1,401 stocks, Stationery and Office Supplies advanced 18 cents to end at $1.83 following the trading of 143,479 units and Tropical Battery declined 10 cents to $2.40 after an exchange of 260,861 stocks.
Prices of securities trading are those for the last transaction of each stock unless otherwise stated.

Rising stocks dominate Junior Market

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Stocks mostly rose at the close of trading on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with prices of 23 rising, 11 declining and 12 closing unchanged with nearly all stocks on the market traded result in 46 securities changing hands compared with 47 on Monday, following a 55 percent rise in the volume of stocks traded, with a 65 percent greater value than on Monday and ending with.
The market ended trading on Tuesday with 8,723,426 shares for $24,310,202 up from 5,643,750 stock units at $14,776,971 on Monday.
Trading averaged 189,640 shares at $528,483 compared to 120,080 units at $314,404 on Monday with the month to date, ending with an average of 192,588 units at $469,455 compared with 192,852 stock units at $464,162 on the previous day and January ending with an average of 175,081 units at $401,738.
Future Energy led trading with 2.09 million shares for 24 percent of the total volume followed by Fosrich with 1.13 million units for 13 percent of trading, ONE on ONE Educational ended with 1.02 million units for 11.7 percent market share and Lasco Distributors with 1.02 million units for 11.6 percent of the total volume.
At the close of trading, the Junior Market Index popped 2.07 points to end the day at 3,794.97.
The Junior Market ended trading with an average PE Ratio of 13.1, based on last traded prices in conjunction with earnings projected by ICInsider.com for the financial years ending around August 2024.
Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator shows three stocks ended with bids higher than their last selling prices and three with lower offers.
At the close, Access Financial rose 8 cents to close at $22.68 as investors traded just one stock, AMG Packaging lost 35 cents to end at $2.74 after a transfer of 5,955 units, Cargo Handlers declined 90 cents to close at $13.10 after investors traded 1,063 shares. Caribbean Assurance Brokers advanced 25 cents to $2.38 after 21,855 stock units passed through the market, Caribbean Cream popped 42 cents to $3.77 with an exchange of 4 shares, Express Catering increased 10 cents to $3.90, with 52,915 units changing hands. Jamaican Teas popped 10 cents in closing at $2.50 with a transfer of 161,220 stocks, KLE Group rose 8 cents to $2.47 with investors swapping 178,198 stock units, Lasco Financial sank 11 cents to close at $1.88 in an exchange of 62,675 shares. Lasco Manufacturing rallied 14 cents and ended at $5.09 with investors trading 661,103 stocks, Limners and Bards popped 12 cents to $1.62 after exchanging 12 units, Mailpac Group dipped 16 cents and ended at $2.17 with investors dealing in 141,373 stock units. Main Event climbed 10 cents to close at $14.20 while exchanging 1,595 shares, Medical Disposables rose 8 cents to end at $2.68 after trading 1,262 units and Paramount Trading gained 8 cents in closing at $1.48 in an exchange of 8,330 stocks.
Prices of securities trading are those for the last transaction of each stock unless otherwise stated.

Falling stocks dominates Junior Market

Trading closed on Monday, with all stocks being active, except for suspended iCreate at the close of the Junior Market on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, with the volume of stocks traded rising 32 percent following a 30 percent rise in the value compared to Friday with trading in 47 securities up from 42 on Friday and ending with prices of 13 rising, 24 declining and 10 closing unchanged.
Trading closed on Monday after 5,643,750 shares were exchanged for $14,776,971 up from 4,262,868 units at $11,405,667 on Friday.
Trading averaged 120,080 shares at $314,404, compared with 101,497 units at $271,563 on Friday with the month to date, averaging 192,852 units at $464,162 compared with  200,192 stock units at $479,266 on the previous day and January with an average of 175,081 units at $401,738.
Stationery and Office Supplies was the traded stock with 1.46 million shares followed by Regency Petroleum with 685,156 units and Image Plus with 493,784 units for 8.7 percent market share.
At the close of trading, the Junior Market Index dipped 19.99 points to end at 3,792.90.
The Junior Market ended trading with an average PE Ratio of 13, based on last traded prices in conjunction with earnings projected by ICInsider.com for the financial years ending around August 2024.
Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator shows seven stocks ended with bids higher than their last selling prices and three with lower offers.
At the close, AMG Packaging climbed 9 cents to end at $3.09 in switching ownership of 15,563 shares, Blue Power declined 50 cents in closing at $2.85 after an exchange of 434 units, CAC 2000 rose 30 cents to $4.51, after hitting a 52 weeks’ intraday low of $3.02 with investors dealing in just 4 shares. Cargo Handlers shed 59 cents and ended at $14 after 713 stocks passed through the market, Caribbean Assurance Brokers lost 27 cents in closing at $2.13 with investors swapping 64,750 shares, Caribbean Cream skidded 55 cents to $3.35 in an exchange of 100,615 stocks. Consolidated Bakeries advanced 22 cents to close at $2.20 after trading 61 units, Dolphin Cove fell 47 cents to $18.50 while exchanging 862 stock units, Express Catering sank 19 cents to $3.80 with a transfer of 148,713 shares. Fontana dipped 25 cents and ended at $10 as investors exchanged 297,440 stock units, Honey Bun dropped 24 cents to $6.45, with 2,369 stocks crossing the market, ISP Finance popped $5.98 to end at $31 after exchanging 1,978 units. Lasco Distributors fell 13 cents in closing at $3.87 after 18,025 stocks crossed the market, Lasco Financial increased 14 cents to close at $1.99 in an exchange of 1,296 units, Limners and Bards sank 12 cents and ended at $1.50 with investors transferring 5,295 shares. Lumber Depot rallied 15 cents to $2.45 and closed after investors traded 1,165 stock units, Main Event dipped 66 cents to end at $14.10 with investors trading 4,053 shares, Medical Disposables lost 10 cents in closing at $2.60 with an exchange of 10 units. Paramount Trading gained 13 cents to close at $1.40 with 5,607 stocks clearing the market and Stationery and Office Supplies skidded 19 cents and ended at $1.61 with traders dealing in 1,463,420 stock units.
Prices of securities trading are those for the last transaction of each stock unless otherwise stated.

Junior Market slips on Thursday

Declining stocks edged out rising ones at the close of trading on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange Thursday, following an increase in trading activity resulting from a 74 percent rise in the volume of stocks traded, valued 51 percent more than for trading on Tuesday following activity in 41 securities compared with 45 on Tuesday and ending with prices of 14 rising, 16 declining and 11 closing unchanged.
The market closed trading of 6,026,066 shares for $13,427,737 compared with 3,460,585 stock units at $8,913,356 on Tuesday, following release of several results of companies for the December quarter prior to the start of trading.
Trading averaged 146,977 shares at $327,506, compared with 76,902 units at $198,075 on Tuesday with the month to date, averaging 209,968 units at $499,840 compared with 216,711 stock units at $518,289 on the previous day and January with an average of 175,081 units at $401,738.
Mailpac Group led trading with 2.05 million shares for 34.1 percent of total volume followed by Image Plus with 783,408 units for 13 percent of the day’s trade and One Great Studio with 731,290 units for 12.1 percent market share.
At the close of trading, the Junior Market Index dipped 5.26 points to end trading at 3,808.58.
The Junior Market ended trading with an average PE Ratio of 13.4, based on last traded prices in conjunction with earnings projected by ICInsider.com for the financial years ending around August 2024.
Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator shows one stock ended with a bid higher than the last selling price and five with lower offers.
At the close, Access Financial popped $1.27 to close at $22.68 with investors trading 774 shares, CAC 2000 climbed 38 cents to $4.21 in an exchange of 469 units, Caribbean Flavours increased 10 cents and ended at $1.70 with investors swapping 3,038 stocks. Derrimon Trading rose 15 cents in closing at $2.06 in an exchange of 16,927 stock units, Dolphin Cove rallied 97 cents to end at $18.97 after an exchange of 7,290 shares, Elite Diagnostic advanced 8 cents in closing at $1.77 after investors traded 144,846 units. Fontana dropped 12 cents to $10.48 with an exchange of 42,236 stocks, Honey Bun sank 39 cents to end at $6.30, with 24,354 stock units crossing the market, Jamaican Teas shed 18 cents to close at $2.40 with traders dealing in 124,722 shares. Knutsford Express declined 8 cents and ended at $12.30 after a transfer of 1,785 stocks, Lasco Distributors gained 11 cents to $3.87 in switching ownership of 27,706 units, Lasco Financial fell 13 cents to close at $1.91 while exchanging 5,933 stocks. Lasco Manufacturing dipped 10 cents to end at $4.90 with 11,723 shares clearing the market, Limners and Bards lost 18 cents in closing at $1.47 after an exchange of 9,866 stock units, Lumber Depot skidded 12 cents to $2.20, with 185,704 units changing hands. Mailpac Group popped 19 cents to $2.38, with an exchange of 2,052,755 stocks and Medical Disposables increased 18 cents and ended at $2.70 with investors transferring 11,894 shares.
Prices of securities trading are those for the last transaction of each stock unless otherwise stated.

Trading plunges on Junior Market

Trading dropped sharply on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange Tuesday, with a decline of 71 percent in the volume of stocks traded, following a 65 percent fall in value compared with Monday’s trading, resulting in 45 securities changing hands compared with 42 on Monday and ending with prices of 10 stocks rising, 26 declining and nine closing unchanged.
The market closed with an exchange of 3,460,585 shares for $8,913,356 down from 11,955,696 units at $25,250,753 on Monday.
Trading averaged 76,902 shares for $198,075 compared to 284,659 units at $601,208 on Monday with the month to date, averaging 216,711 stock units at $518,289 compared to 235,325 stock units at $560,921 on the previous day and January with an average of 175,081 units at $401,738.
Tropical Battery led trading with 847,958 shares for 24.5 percent of total volume followed by One Great Studio with 346,363 units for 10 percent of the day’s trade and Indies Pharma with 292,036 units for 8.4 percent market share.
At the close of trading, the Junior Market Index sank 19.52 points to wrap-up trading at 3,813.84.
The Junior Market ended trading with an average PE Ratio of 13.4, based on last traded prices in conjunction with earnings projected by ICInsider.com for the financial years ending around August 2024.
Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator shows seven stocks ended with bids higher than their last selling prices and three with lower offers.
At the close, Access Financial dropped $1.24 to close at $21.41 with investors dealing in a mere 76 stock units, AMG Packaging shed 24 cents to close at $2.71 in an exchange of 1,265 shares, CAC 2000 declined 68 cents to end at $3.83 with traders dealing in 526 units. Caribbean Flavours lost 10 cents in closing at $1.60, with 2,000 stocks crossing the market, Consolidated Bakeries increased 11 cents and ended at $2.21 with investors trading 2,000 shares, Dolphin Cove skidded 32 cents to $18 and closed with an exchange of 7,149 units. Elite Diagnostic sank 12 cents in closing at $1.69 after a transfer of 19,333 stocks, Everything Fresh dipped 18 cents and ended at $1.52 in trading 13,655 stock units, Fontana climbed 28 cents to close at $10.60 after 52,304 shares passed through the market. Honey Bun rose 19 cents to end at $6.69 with investors transferring 768 stocks, Indies Pharma fell 8 cents in closing at $2.60 in an exchange of 292,036 units, ISP Finance dropped $6.33 to $25.02 with 16 stock units clearing the market. Jamaican Teas rallied 9 cents and ended at $2.58 with a transfer of 111,114 shares, Lasco Distributors fell 22 cents to close at $3.76 after an exchange of 86,350 stock units, Lasco Manufacturing popped 14 cents to end at $5 after trading 166,322 stocks. Limners and Bards gained 10 cents in closing at $1.65 with an exchange of 6,102 units, Lumber Depot fell 18 cents to $2.32, with 110,547 shares crossing the market, Mailpac Group advanced 9 cents to end at $2.19 with investors exchanging 86,500 stock units, ahead of the company announcing the acquisition of MyCart Express, a Jamaican based courier service company. Main Event dipped 13 cents to close at $14.79 in switching ownership of 248 stocks, Medical Disposables sank 20 cents and ended at $2.52, with 262 stock units crossing the exchange, Spur Tree Spices shed 8 cents to $2.32 with investors swapping 200,107 shares and Tropical Battery declined 15 cents in closing at $2.55 after exchanging 847,958 units after the company reported a solid 45 percent growth in their first quarter profit.
Prices of securities trading are those for the last transaction of each stock unless otherwise stated.

ICTOP 15 Main & Junior Market stocks for 2024

Stocks are set for a major ride higher in 2024 following two years of subpar performance of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. The market did not perform well in 2023, the Main Market fell 8.5 percent and the Junior Market the US dollar market declined by 3.5 percent and 1.2 percent respectively, but technical reading of the Main Market is pointing to a solid rally ahead, with some stocks breaking out of a prolonged period of consolidation.
Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) raised interest rates in 2021 with the overnight rate landing at 7 percent in November 2022 and has remained there since, with BOJ keeping a tight lid on market rates by the use of Certificate of Deposits with rates mostly around 10 percent on average, to tame inflation that peaked close to 12 percent in early 2023.
The stock market has not performed well in that environment. Contrasting that with the US where the Federal Reserve raised rates over two years, with the last increase in July last year. Notwithstanding, the US stock market indices were racing forward and are now at record levels while the JSE Main Market is still below the Covid-19-affected levels but the Junior Market trades at much higher levels than the lows of 2020.
Many investors consider that higher interest rates reduce stock prices, but they are only partially correct. Interest rates affect the valuation of stocks not necessarily the price of stocks. Put another way, higher rates reduce the PE ratios used to value stocks but if profits are rising faster than the increase in rates, stock values will tend to rise as the company is more valuable despite the rate increase. With rising rates the PE ratio mostly used in stock valuation will fall with rising rates and rise when rates are declining.

The Junior Market is presently in a triangular formation that will lead to a big breakout soon.

If profits don’t rise above the level of PE decline then the market will most likely adjust the stock price down. So while interest rates remained stable in 2023 at levels higher than 2021, a total of 31 companies posted gains in the market last year. That is the reason why Scotia Group posted gains from late 2023 into 2024, with some others doing likewise. Other factors to consider are that higher rates may result in higher interest costs for some companies or reduced revenues that could reduce profit but companies with investment funds may enjoy higher profits as they may enjoy increased interest income.
The lack of performance for the Jamaica Stock Exchange last year was not interest rates, but mostly lacklustre profit performance by several companies. What the issue illustrates is the import of careful stock selection with a focus on companies with a good track record of growing profits consistently over several years.
Technical indicators are pointing to a bottoming out of the Main Market that has broken out from a market squeeze, with technical indicators indicating a huge run ahead for the market, see market index chart. At the same time, the Junior Market closed 2023, with a negative undertone that could remain in place for a while until events push it in a new direction. Company profits seem the most likely factor in the medium term.
Part of the decline in the Junior Market in 2023 is due to an overall level of over-exuberance by investors in 2022, pushing the prices of a limited number of Junior Market stocks to unrealistic levels, with sharp correction for some of these in 2023 and helping to drag the market. The situation in the Main Market was somewhat different with a lack of interest from institutional investors until the final quarter of the year which is reflected in a continuous slide in the Main Market Index throughout the year until the end of September, indeed from a two-year high of 461,783 points on the All Jamaica Composite Index in May 2022 until it bottomed at the end of September 2023 at 344,153 points and put on almost 23,000 points to the end of the year. While the Main Market declined for two consecutive years, the Junior Market was experiencing its first yearly decline since 2020.
Inflation moderated during the year within the central bank’s target of 4 to 6 percent on a number of occasions. By the end of November, the year over year inflation rate was just above the bank’s upper limit of 6 percent, with the rate hitting 6.9 percent in December. Certain price adjustments particularly in public transportation impacted inflation negatively towards the latter part of the year, some of these may carry over into 2024. The bank also fears possible wage increases that could be unusually high and place upward pressure on inflation.
For the first three months of 2024, it should be instructive to see where inflation is likely to be and what could become of interest rates during the year. What is clear is that falling market rates in the USA are likely to set the tone ultimately in Jamaica and that should be aided by expectations that the FED will start reducing rates during the second quarter of 2024.
A look at the stock market at this juncture suggests that profits should continue to be positive as can be seen from a compilation of company results for the third quarter of 2023. Data shows that profits for the nine months are up 4 percent and for the quarter up a B 46 percent over similar periods in 2022. A major part of the drag on profits was approximately $11 billion provisions made by NCB Financial for staff redundancies and one-time bonus compensation.
Barring increased interest rates, the Jamaican economy should grow just around two percent in 20224 and that ought to be sufficient to help generate increased demand for goods and services and assist many listed companies to increase profits from existing operations. Expanding companies will see above average performances.
The Junior Market and the Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange are flashing bullish signals that suggest an uptick in the market. This is reflected in projected PE ratios for 2024 for both markets with the projected ratios well below the current levels of valuation for 2023.
The average PE for the JSE Main and Junior Market for 2024 based on that year’s earnings is 10.5 and 9 respectively, compared to the current levels of 14 based on 2023 earnings, at the same time the ICTOP 15 based on 2024 earnings stand at around 5, well below the market average of 14, barring increases in interest rates and disappointing profits, PE ratios should return to the average around 14, resulting in a 180 percent jump in values for the IC TOP15 stocks during 2024 at the minimum, and more if the country’s central bank lowers rates during 2024, with a 50 percent rise in the overall market.
Data for the market in 2023 showed that companies with outstanding profit growth found favour with investors who bid the prices of those stocks higher in most cases. Stocks of companies with profit declining or with moderate profit increases were mostly marked down by the investing public. Examples, are to be found in TransJamaican Highway, Lasco Distributors, Lasco Manufacturers, Dolphin Cove, General Accident, Fontana, Main Event, Knutsford Express and Scotia Group with Wisynco Group to name a few that enjoyed price gains. A number of the performances of these stocks benefited from recovery in the tourism sector directly or indirectly.
For 2024, companies that are expanding may be worth investing in as they are likely to enjoy above-average growth in revenues and profits going forward. Companies in this category include Wisynco, Caribbean Cement, Caribbean Cream, Grace Kennedy, Jamaican Teas, Caribbean Producers, Jetcon, Fontana, Express Catering, Stationery and Office Supplies, Edufocal, Transjamaican Highway, Stanley Motta, and Tropical Battery.

Junior Market pops higher on Tuesday

The Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange closed higher on Tuesday, with trading in 44 securities, down from 46 on Monday and ending with prices of only 14 stocks rising, 22 declining and eight closing unchanged after the volume of stocks traded jumped 161 percent, carrying a value that was 198 percent greater than in market activity on Monday
The market closed with trading of 13,878,813 shares for $41,634,700 up from a mere 5,320,099 stock units at $13,969,282 on Monday.
Trading averaged 315,428 shares at $946,243, compared with 115,654 units at $303,680 on Monday with the month to date, averaging 216,013 units at $564,561 compared to 183,124 stock units at $438,290 on the previous day and January with an average of 175,081 units at $401,738.
Dolla Financial led trading with 7.19 million shares before releasing full year results that were up in 2023, with a profit of $430 million versus $280 million in the previous year but earnings per share dipped to 17 cents from 18 cents in 2022. Future Energy followed with 3.25 million units and Tropical Battery with 817,037 stock units for 5.9 percent market share.
At the close of trading, the Junior Market Index increased 9.98 points to culminate at 3,820.19.
The Junior Market ended trading with an average PE Ratio of 13.4, based on last traded prices in conjunction with earnings projected by ICInsider.com for the financial years ending around August 2024.
Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator shows one stock ending with a bid higher than the last selling price and three with lower offers.
At the close, Cargo Handlers sank 23 cents to close at $14.40 in an exchange of 1,014 stock units, Caribbean Assurance Brokers rose 35 cents to close at $2.44 after 750 stocks were exchanged, Caribbean Cream fell 40 cents to $3.50, with 1,158 shares being traded. Consolidated Bakeries skidded 13 cents to $2.09 after trading 9,449 stock units, Dolla Financial rose 38 cents and ended at $2.98 as investors exchanged 7,187,009 shares, Fontana climbed 17 cents to $10.50, with 82,176 stocks clearing the market. Fosrich fell 8 cents and ended at $2.10 after an exchange of 309,773 units, Future Energy increased 8 cents to close at $3.70 and ended with an exchange of 3,250,558 stock units, Indies Pharma declined 10 cents in closing at $2.71 after 13,157 shares changed hands. ISP Finance shed $6.49 to end at $25.01 with investors transferring 27 units, Lasco Distributors dropped 15 cents to $3.85 with investors exchanging 101,806 stocks, Lasco Financial dipped 32 cents to close at $1.77 with a transfer of 94,155 stock units. Lasco Manufacturing popped 19 cents in closing at $4.94 while exchanging 7,180 shares, Limners and Bards rallied 12 cents to end at $1.52 with traders dealing in 24,717 units, Lumber Depot slipped 10 cents and ended at $2.50 after a transfer of 2,910 stocks and Stationery and Office Supplies gained 10 cents to close at $1.70 with investors swapping 146,423 stock units.
Prices of securities trading are those for the last transaction of each stock unless otherwise stated.

Junior Market crosses over 3,800 barrier

The 3,800 Junior Market index barrier was crossed at the close of trading on Monday, after a mild decline in the volume of stocks traded, but with 23 percent greater value than on Friday with investors trading 46 securities compared with 47 on Friday and ending with prices of 15 rising, 20 declining and 11 closing unchanged, but closing bids and offers suggest that the market could fall below the barrier on Tuesday.
The market closed with an exchange of 5,320,099 shares for $13,969,282 compared with 5,395,966 units at $11,327,944 on Friday.
Trading averaged 115,654 shares at $303,680, up from 114,808 units at $241,020 on Friday with the month to date, averaging 183,124 units at $438,290 compared to 218,797 stock units at $509,463 on the prior trading day and January with an average of 175,081 units at $401,738.
Spur Tree Spices led trading with 1.21 million shares for 22.8 percent of total volume followed by EduFocal with 566,845 units for 10.7 percent of the day’s trade and Future Energy with 387,681 stock units for 7.3 percent market share.
At the close of trading, the Junior Market Index gained 11.44 points to lock up trading at 3,810.21.
The Junior Market ended trading with an average PE Ratio of 13.5, based on last traded prices in conjunction with earnings projected by ICInsider.com for the financial years ending around August 2024.
Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator shows one stock ended with the highest bid higher than the last selling price and six with lower offers.
At the close, AMG Packaging dipped 30 cents to end at $2.63 as investors traded 1,843 shares, Cargo Handlers climbed $1.46 to $14.63, in trading 4,201 units, Caribbean Assurance Brokers sank 38 cents in closing at $2.09 with an exchange of a mere 1,902 shares. Consolidated Bakeries rose 22 cents to end at $2.22 after 359 stock units passed through the market, Derrimon Trading dipped 8 cents and ended at $2 with investors exchanging 32,813 shares, Everything Fresh lost 18 cents to end at $1.47, with 5,034 stock units crossing the market. Future Energy skidded 8 cents to end at $3.62 after an exchange of 387,681 units, Honey Bun gained 9 cents in closing at $6.49 with investors dealing in 2,782 stocks, Indies Pharma popped 12 cents and ended at $2.81 with 1,008 shares crossing the exchange. ISP Finance increased 50 cents to close at $31.50 with investors trading 10,066 stock units, Knutsford Express advanced $1.30 to $12.40, with 1,052 units changing hands, Lasco Financial fell 22 cents to close at $2.09 and closed with an exchange of 85,754 stocks. Lasco Manufacturing shed 17 cents to end at $4.75, with 194,615 units crossing the market, Limners and Bards declined 9 cents in closing at $1.40 after an exchange of 48,145 stocks, Lumber Depot rallied 10 cents and ended at $2.60 with investors transferring 209 shares. Mailpac Group lost 10 cents to $2.12 in an exchange of 77,255 stock units, MFS Capital Partners popped 12 cents and ended at $2.42 with traders dealing in 74,374 shares, Regency Petroleum skidded 11 cents in closing at $2.23 after a transfer of 48,449 stocks and Stationery and Office Supplies advanced 11 cents to end at $1.60, with trading in 340,288 units.
Prices of securities trading are those for the last transaction of each stock unless otherwise stated.

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