Palace Amusement closes cinemas

In the wake of COVID 19 in Jamaica and recent reports of community spread, the management of Palace Amusement Company has taken the decision to close its four cinemas – Carib 5 and Palace Cineplex in Kingston, Sunshine Palace in Portmore and Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay – until further notice.

Carib Cinema, the flagship for Palace Amusement.

This on the heels of increased sanitization measures rolled by the Company this week to help minimize threats to valued patrons and its staff alike.
Marketing Manager, Melanie Graham says that Palace Amusement is now in unchartered territory with the uncertainties of this global pandemic. “We have been watching developments closely and staying tuned to local advisories on the virus since the news of COVID 19 broke earlier this week”, she said. “This has been a challenging week but we have made the difficult decision to close in the best interest of patrons and our employees alike. We will certainly be hard hit on many levels and at this time we are unable to project when we will resume”.
Globally the movie industry is undergoing a sharp downturn due to COVID 19, as producers and film companies continue to pull their pictures.
Among blockbusters which have been rescheduled, are the highly anticipated Fast and Furious 9 now pushed back one year to April 2021, No Time to Die, the new James Bond movie, now set be released in November and Disney’s Mulan and New Mutants which are delayed without any new release dates attached.
The fallout has also hit Alternative Content now shown exclusively at Palace Cineplex, with the Met Opera’s recent announcement of the cancellation of all performances through March 31.
“Palace Amusement wishes to extend heartfelt sympathy to all persons and families affected by COVID 19. We all have to do our part to ensure that we get through this difficult period in the best way possible.” Graham concluded.

Seasons goodies from Palace

Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.

Palace Amusement announces special offerings for patrons at all of its four cinema locations for this Weekend and on Christmas Eve.
Palace is also offering Half Off Specials at all locations, for early and late shows, on Tuesday, December 24, with the exception of the movie Black Christmas.
Patrons at Sunshine Palace will enjoy late movies at approximately 11 pm this Saturday, December 21, Boxing Day, Thursday, December 26 and Saturday, December 28.
Black Christmas – A fight to the finish|Hawthorne College is quieting down for the holidays. One by one, sorority girls on campus are being killed by an unknown stalker. But the killer is about to discover that this generation’s young women aren’t willing to become hapless victims as they mount a fight to the finish.
Black Christmas is an American slasher film directed by Sophia Takal and written by Takal and April Wolfe. The film stars Imogen Poots, Aleyse Shannon, Lily Donoghue, Brittany O’Grady, Caleb Eberhardt, and Cary Elwes.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – The final chapter will open in Digital 3D at all Palace cinemas on Friday.

A seen from Black Christmas.

The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is an American epic space opera film produced, co-written, and directed by J. J. Abrams. It will be the third installment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following The Force Awakens(2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and the final episode of the nine-part “Skywalker saga”.  The film’s ensemble cast includes Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Academy Award® winner Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac Anthony, DanielsNaomi AckieDomhnall Gleeson, Academy Award® nominee Richard E. Grant, Academy Award® winner Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, Ian McDiarmid and Billy Dee Williams.

Terminator makes way for Doctor Sleep

Ewan Gordon McGregor starring in Doctor Sleep

The legendary, Terminator came to Palace Amusements’ cinema houses just over a week ago Friday with guns blazing and opening in 8 showings at the start but jumping to thirteen per day the next day, until Tuesday.
The popular series dropped to back to eight shows as of Wednesday, but by Friday the movie was in just three houses for four shows per day.
Doctor Sleep starring Rebecca Ferguson and Ewan McGregor takes over the lead position on Friday, with eight showings per day in all cinemas.
On Wednesday, Harriet entered the Jamaican cinemas with four shows per day. Motherless Brooklyn started on Wednesday with four shows daily and is up to five as of Friday and Countd Wn opened on the same day with three showings.
Black and Blue starring Naomie Harris and Tyrese Gibson, opening with seven daily shows in all cinemas on Wednesday, October 23, continued with 6 on Wednesday, October 30. On Friday, November 2, it fell to five showings, and is back to six shows in three cinemas on Wednesday last and fell to three shows as of Friday.
Gemini Man now in its fifth week at the cinemas, is now down to just two shows per day.  with Angelina Jolie is having just one regular showing and two early shows at Cineplex and Sunshine Palace, in the 2-2:30 pm time slot.

Fast & Furious top summer movie

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Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw starring Dwyane Johnson, Jason Statham and Idris Elba was the top-performing movie at Palace Amusement cinema circuit in Kingston, Portmore and Montego Bay from July to October according to data extracted by IC Insider from weekly movie listings and confirmed by Palace’s Managing director Douglas Graham.
Fast & Furious started showings on July 3 for 15 times per day and climbed to 17 the following week and moved to 12 on August 7. The movie totaled 73 showings ending on October 4th with just one showing. The Lion King featuring the voices of James Earl Jones and Beyonce, had 58 showings for the number two spot,  followed by The Hustlers with 34 showings and Angel Has Fallen with 31. Together, these top movies accounted for 216 showings or 58 percent of regular shows during the period that includes the new Portmore cinema, Sunshine Palace that opened at the end of July. Lion King ran non-stop to the week starting September 3 with 5 shows, had a break and returned with 2 shows on the week ending September 28.
Managing Director of Palace Amusement, Douglas Graham says the performance of Fast and Furious was expected because “Jamaicans love movies with motor cars”.  He explained that the Fast and Furious series tends to do better in Jamaica than anywhere else relatively speaking. Popular British actor and DJ Idris Elba, one of the leads in the film was also a big drawing card, as Jamaicans positively identify with the high-grossing star, a relatable and renowned black man, who has visited, filmed and partied in the island on many occasions.

Recliners box seats exclusively for cinema 4.

Graham says he was also pleased with The Lion King, a musical produced by Walt Disney Pictures and a computer-animated remake of Disney’s 1994 traditionally animated film of the same name. Just in time for summer, the movie was a big hit with families driven no doubt by the timeless tale and the star-studded cast of voices.
According to Graham, Sunshine Palace did well in August- “We have seen what it can do. However, the State of Emergency is problematic for movie-goers in the area as that audience are late movies patronisers. We had the same problem in Montego Bay but they overcame it, we hope this will happen in Portmore as well”.
The current crop of movies includes Gemini Man starring Will Smith having three weeks in all cinema houses twice per day for 8 shows daily, graham feels that this will continue for another week from next week Wednesday. Maleficent Mistress of Evil with Angelina Jolie opened of Friday, October 18 with 4 shows in all cinemas and is now up to 7 on Wednesday. Jokers started with 8 shows on October 4 and declined to 5 from October 9 to October 16 but is now having just 2 daily showings at the Carib. Rambo started on September 28 with 7 shows for two weeks then was down to 5 and just 2 for the week commencing October 16 and is now ended, leaving Maleficent Mistress of Evil that started last week Friday, Gemini Man and Jokers as the only carryovers.
New at the movies this week are Black and Blue starring Naomie Harris and Tyrese Gibson, opening with seven daily shows in all cinemas and The Informer featuring Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike and Clive Owen with six daily showings in 3 cinemas.


Once Upon a Time in Hollywood– The Golden Age

Leonardo DiCaprio tries to achieve fame and success in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a comedy-drama written and directed by Academy Award® winner Quentin Tarantino. The film stars Academy Award® winners Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Al Pacino,  Academy Award® nominees Margot Robbie and Bruce Dern, alongside Emile Hirsch, Margaret Qualley, Timothy Olyphant, Austin Butler and Dakota Fanning.
The Art of Racing in the Rain– Navigating the journey of life
Through his bond with his owner, aspiring Formula One race car driver Denny, golden retriever Enzo learns that the techniques needed on the race track can also be used to successfully navigate the journey of life.

Cats is a Chinese animated film directed by Gary Wong and produced by Viva Pictures Release.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is a comedy-drama directed by Simon Curtis and written by Mark Bomback, based on the 2008 novel of the same name by author Garth Stein. The film stars Milo Ventimiglia (NCB’s This is Us), Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls/Mama Mia!) and Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner as the voice of Enzo.
Cats – Escape to Paradise
A cat named Blanket has long been living in a high-rise apartment in the city with his son, Cape.

A golden retriever learns from his owner Milo Ventimiglia The Art of Racing in the Rain.

One day, curious about the outside world, Cape decides to leave home and embarks on an adventure to find the legendary cat’s paradise. To find his son, Blanket must overcome his fear and reconcile with his past, with the help of a female Macaw.
These movies are now featured at Palace Amusement Company’s cinemas in Kingston, Montego Bay and now at their newest movie house in Portmore, the Sunshine Palace.

Blowout Avengers US numbers

Avengers Endgame opens island wide in Jamaica on today (Friday) at all Palace Amusement cinemas and expected to be a blockbuster movie.
Report out of the United States quotes AMC Entertainment as saying, Disney’s Avengers: Endgame will show about 58,000 times this weekend at the company’s theaters to blow away the company’s previous weekend screening record by more than 10,000 showings.
AMC has put approximately 10 million seats on sale between Thursday night’s opening and Sunday night. The Avengers movie set an all-time record for Thursday night box office sales.
“With wildly enthusiastic critic and fan reviews, interest in Avengers: Endgame has continued to grow beyond even the most optimistic projections,” notes AMC.
In Jamaica, the movie that opens today will see patrons paying approximately 8 percent more to watch it and other movies than they would earlier in the month as Palace announced increased prices for movies effective April 26. Palace last increased prices around 4 percent effective July last year.

Barita up 593% top 2018 JSE stock

Barita climbs to a new closing high of $50 on Friday to gain 593% in 2018..

Stocks on the Jamaica Stock Exchange main market ending 2018 with a credible gain of 31.7 percent but brokerage house Barita Investments surged a by a huge 593 percent to be the markets best performing stock in 2018.  
Barita Investments gain mostly came after Cornerstone Investment Holdings officially sealed the deal to take over the company and laterally, after announcing a rights issue to shareholders at an exercise price of $15.50. The stock closed the year at $52. But there is a lot more going on with this company as the new majority owners take a more aggressive approach to capture more business locally and within the wider Caribbean.
Four stocks end 2018 with gains of more than 100 percent contributed to the year’s performance but the year’s movement fell below that of 2017, when the index rose 50.7 percent. The next best performer could only deliver a 211 percent rise in contrast to the stunning gains by Barita. Salada Foods ended the year with a jump in price to $35 on strong gains in profit, to capture the number 2 best performing spot rising by 211 percent for the year, followed by Palace Amusement with gains of 159 percent, the third year in a row that it is occupying the top 10 list. Kingston Wharves grew 135 percent to be one of 4 stocks to reappear in the top 10 for two consecutive years. Jamaica Broilers gained 67 percent. Pulse Investments reappeared in the Top 10 with a rise of 66 percent and heavy weight, PanJam Investment put in a strong showing of 65 percent, while Supreme Ventures chipped in with 57 percent, Mayberry Investments rose 52 percent and NCB Financial with 50 percent to retain one of the Top 10 spots for the second year in a row.
The worst performing stocks included Ciboney down 71 percent due mainly to the sale of property it previously owned with most of the proceeds distributed as a dividend thus reducing the value of its assets to a few million dollars. 138 Student Living was next with a fall of 42 percent with Portland JSX ending with a loss for the year of 25 percent following on from Kingston Properties with 22 percent and Sygnus Credit Investments with 20 percent from it 2018 IPO price. Both Ciboney and Carreras that are in the top 10 worst performing stocks in 2018 are coming from the top 10 in 2017.

4 new entrants in IC Top 10

Seprod shares now trades at $32 each.

There are three changes to the TOP 10 main market list and one Junior Market stock. Increased prices during the week, pushed out Access Financial, Salada Foods, Stanley Motta and Scotia Group.
Medical Disposables returns to the TOP 10 Junior Market list with the price at $6.20, down from $7.50 the previous week, as it pushed out Access that rose to $52 during last week. Berger Paints and Seprod moved up modestly in price but that was not sufficient to prevent them from returning to the TOP, with other stocks rising in price during the week. Palace Amusement also returned to the TOP 10 main market list.
For the nine months to September, Seprod generated $15.50 billion in revenues, an increase of $3.36 billion or 28 percent over the similar period in 2017. Net profit for the period was $970 million, an increase of $387 million or 66 percent over 2017. Earnings per share came out at $2.03 with the third quarter rising to 85 cents from 38 cents in 2017. For the full year earnings could hit $3 per share. That should put the stock back in the $40 range before too long.
Berger Paints profit for the nine months to September was below expectations, with $9 million profit in the third quarter versus $54 million in 2017 and $43 million for the nine months to September, down sharply from $143 million in 2017. The company now enters the busiest period of the year when the bulk of income and profits are made. Last year company was closed for sales for several days for stock taking in December, resulting in lost sales and profit. The company should not suffer the same fate this year as the new owners would be aware of the problem and work at preventing same. That should result in better sales and profit than in the 2017 final quarter. In the final quarter of 2016 pretax profit was $233 million compared to just $67 million for the similar period in 2017, when the disruptions occurred.
The main market closed the week with the overall PE remains at 15.3, the PE of the Junior market is at 15.5.
The PE ratio for Junior Market Top 10 stocks average 9 and the main market PE is now 9.3.
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 39 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.

New movie house for Portmore in 2019

Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay.

Palace Amusement is expanding with the re-entry into the rapidly growing Portmore community in 2019. The newest cinema house when complete, will bringing the number of movie houses to four.
The company in its 2018 annual report stated, “we are excited about the offerings of the four screens location to come” in Portmore. In 2004 fiscal year, the Portmore cinema brought in just over $15 million in revenue, with segment profit of $1.2 million. In 2004 the population was around 160,000 persons and with some estimates indicating it could be over the 300,000 region now, as a result, the new cinema could generate revenues of more than $100 million per year, with attendant profit to be added to the existing business. With Portmore so close to Kingston it could result in a switch in some of the existing business to the new one.
The company also stated, “It is our hope, in short order, to introduce laser technology in our cinema projection–which will offer a superior light quality for films. Additionally, we will introduce disposable 3D glasses in some of our locations–in response to customer preference and requests.”
Palace reported it best year ever with the fiscal year to June 2018 annual report states profit after tax of $152 million up from just $33 million for the full year in 2017 and earnings per share of $96.58. Revenues climbed  by 17 percent to $1.67 billion that flowed from a 25 percent rise in patronage income at Carib, 27 percent increase at Cineplex and just 11.5 percent in Montego Bay, Multiplex.
Palace share last traded at $1,500 but is on offer at $1,200 without any takers.

Review of 2018 stock market forecast

Palace hits a new high of $1,500 to be top performer in 2018 so far.

“ Assessment of the market, suggests that 2018 could be a grand year, with overall price gains likely to be in excess of 40 percent”, a quote from IC in February, this year.
“Based on projected earnings for 2018, the average PE ratio suggests that main market stocks should grow by 26 percent. Falling interest rates could add another 20 percent to gains during the year, bringing overall gains in excess of 40 percent.”
“Technical readings of the market have the main market heading initially to around 390,000 points or 23 percent ahead of the December close, for the all Jamaica Index, before resistance sets in and then moving much higher, later on’ the IC forecast for 2018 stated.
With almost three more months to go, before the year ends, the main market is broken through the 390,000 points mark to be up 31.7 percent for the year to date, there seems no stopping it for now.
The report in February stated that the main market was caught in a wedge formation, trading just below the upper end of channel that can be traced to late 2015. The wedge could hold the market in consolidation mode for a short time, a month or two, before breaking out, most likely to the upside.
IC projects that many of the main market heavy weights will find it tough to repeat the strong gains they enjoyed in 2017, if that is the case, their impact on the market index is likely to be less than for 2017. Another factor that could make a repeat of 2017 tough, is the movement of interest rates. Last year, Treasury bill rates fell 29 percent from 6.56 percent to 4.83 percent, that level of decline, is unlikely to happen in 2018, even as some of the decline in the latter part of 2017 is yet to be fully reflected in the prices of stocks to date and should positively affect prices in 2018. IC is forecasting rates on 182 days Treasury bill  hitting 3 percent by the end of the 2018 first quarter. Treasury bill rates in 2018 at 1.7 percent, have fallen more sharply than in 2017.
The original piece stated that “there are a number of other factors at play that are set to impact the market. Increasing employment is taking place with the highest number of persons employed in the country’s history. Attendant with that is the sharp fall in unemployment from more than 16.3 percent in 2013, to just over 10 percent in 2017. The annual net employment is growing around 30,000 persons per year and that could rise as the economy gains steam. This will mean more spending and increased tax collection for government. Alpart resumption of Alumina production is a big positive for the overall economy, for increased government revenues and more demand for local goods and services, some of which are provided by listed companies. The tourism sector is enjoying strong growth, apart from increasing foreign exchange intake for the country, will have direct impact on Jamaica Producers and Sagicor X Fund. Jamaica seems to be going through a construction boom with several new buildings under construction, Caribbean Cement and Berger Paints should benefit considerably from such developments.”
“More listings on the stock market will result in increased fee income for JSE and brokerage houses, from increased trading volumes.”
The TOP 10 stocks include a few surprises while there are others that sit just outside the top stocks that investors may still want to keep a keen eye on. Investors should be looking beyond 2018 as medium term gains beyond 2018 could be strong for stocks that will benefit from current developments, long term.
The TOP 10 selection is selling well below the average PE of the Main market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange at just over 6.3 versus nearly 12 at the end of 2017.

Barita last traded on the JSE as high as $20 on Friday.

Barita Investments moved more into fee based income and that is working well for them, with sharp growth, while net interest income stagnates. The prospects for continued strong growth in fee income continues with more investors seeking better returns than in the fixed interest market. The company should see a change in ownership soon and that could see a more aggressive approach to management that could optimize returns from exiting business and newer lines. Unrealized gains on investment ought to be factored into its earnings in valuing the stocks and that would boost its value considerably, the market is not paying attention.
Berger Paints is set to be a big winner with increasing sales coming from a buoyant construction sector resulting in increased profit and what IC expects to be a healthy dose of dividend payments. It could become the next Carreras from a dividend yield standpoint but with growing profits. The company will benefit from lowering of overhead cost which was evident in 2017.
Jamaica Broilers continues to grow organically and from new business being acquired. Growth will continue as the Haitian market deliver greater returns form a growing market while the poultry demand in Jamaica continues to grow.
Caribbean Cement will benefit from lower operating cost, increased sales and a planned cut in financing of the lease which is said will cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of it cost that could come close to $2 per share per annum.
Palace Amusement Company, currently enjoying sell out cinemas with block buster hit, is one of those unusual choices. It enjoys minimal trading but it could surprise on the upside if all goes well. Growth in the economy and increased employment will help to boost patronage going forward and will aid in profit growth as well.
JMMB Group put out outstanding Q3 results with a 39 percent increase in profit and strong gains in revenues, auguring well for 2019 outcome.
The growth potential remains strong and investors in the stock will reap rich rewards down the road. Just one stock that requires patience. By the way fees and commission income jumped an impressive 71 percent to $512 million in the quarter and 53 percent in the nine months, over the similar period in 2016 and should continue to do so going forward.
Radio Jamaica continues to disappoint with below expected revenues and profit. It could return to favour but needs to generate more income from advertising. This is one to accumulate for a payoff down the road.
The other three stocks, Sterling Investments, Grace Kennedy and Sagicor Group are undervalued and could deliver some decent returns to patient investors.
Below the TOP 10 are strong candidates to deliver decent returns this year and beyond, the list includes NCB Financial that is on a strong growth trajectory and recently listed Wisynco Group that should generate earnings around $1.10 for the 2019 fiscal year that starts in July.