All 3 Lasco companies approve splits

All three Lasco listed companies approved a 10 for 1 stock split at yesterday’s meetings called solely for that purpose. While the notice suggest that the splits take effect immediately the stocks traded at the old price levels in Thursdays trading. Lascelles Chin, the Chairman of all three companies confirmed to IC Insider that the record date for the Lasco splits is July 9, 2013 and the ex-date is July 5, 2013.

It will mean that Lasco Manufacturing will have 4.087 billion shares, Lasco Distributors will have 3.3664 billion shares in issue and Lasco Finance 1.228 billion shares. The split will mean that the stocks will trade for less than $2 initially as they are all priced under $16 now. Improved results for the first quarter of the 2014 financial year which ends in March should help pushed the prices up when they are released by early August this year.

JSE: Advancing stocks ahead but indices down

Thursday, 27th June 2013 | Trading picked up today as the amount spent on stocks increased to more than $42.8 million as 4.66 million shares changed hands with 27 stocks trading resulting in 11 being up while 6 declined in price. Two new all-time closing highs were reached on the day, a third stock closed at its 52 weeks high and Lasco Financial Services closed at $12 for an all-time closing high. All indices that had stocks that traded declined marginally at the close.

Junior market | Much interest continued in the three Lasco companies as all three traded more than 500,000 units each. Lasco Distributors traded 1,090,159 units at a value of $16.978 million and Lasco Financial Services traded 518,000 at a cost of $5.73 million as the stock closed up 20 cents at $12. Lasco Manufacturing, closed off 20 cents at $15.60 with 531,000 units trading. General Accident traded 467,000 units at $2.04 accounting for $952,000, Access traded 8,988 units at new high of $8.25 while Blue Power had trading in 500,000 units, costing $5 million as the stock retreated 50 cents on the day to close at $10.

Trading took place in the stocks of 9 junior companies. All three Lasco companies approved a 10 for 1 stock split at an extra ordinary general meeting on Wednesday. The record date for the Lasco splits is July 9, 2013 and the ex-date is July 5, 2013.

Main Market | Prices generally recovered from declines earlier in the week even as the indices slipped marginally. While Berger slipped 15 cents to close at $2.30 with 19,000 shares crossing the exchange, Carreras regained $1 off of the amount which was lost yesterday recovering from the initial reaction to the proposed ban on the smoking of cigarettes in public, the stock closed at $53.50, on very small volume. Pan Jamaican gained $2.08 while trading under 3,000 units to close at $52.60, the same level as the bid. Scotia Investments put on $1 to close at $27.50 but only 1,000 units traded. The bid on the stock on Trinidad exchange is at the equivalent of J$28 and it could trade higher as there is little supply in the market currently.

IC bid-offer Indicator| At the end of trading, the Investor’s Choice bid-offer market sentiment indicator shows that bids for 3 stocks were higher with 3 stocks that had offers lower than their last selling price.

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TTSE: Only 5 stocks trade

Thursday, 27th June 2013 | Only one stock recorded a price change from the last traded price in today’s trading on the Trinidad Stock Exchange the stock price fell moderately. Trading took place in 10 stocks on Thursday as the main market saw a volume of 419,688 shares trading valued at $1,837,719. Buying was much more tempered in the mutual fund market as Clico Investments, the sole trader, amassed a mere 242 shares at a value of $5,566.

Angostura Holdings recorded 148,598 shares changing hands for a value of $1,337,382, Sagicor Financial Corporation had 23,467 shares trading valued at $147,138, Trinidad Cement contributed 161,487 shares at a value of $153,413. National Flour Mills contributed 76,673 shares to the total amount that traded with a value of $57,515.

IC bid-offer Indicator | At the end of trading, the Investor’s Choice bid-offer market sentiment indicator shows that bids for 2 stocks were higher with 4 stocks that had offers lower than their last selling price.

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Insider trades

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A director of Lasco Distributors Limited sold 200,000 of the company’s shares on June 14, 2013.

A director of Lasco Manufacturing Limited sold 200,000 of the company’s shares on June 13 & 14, 2013

Blue Power Group Limited advised that two senior managers sold a total of 159,995 shares during the period June 17 – 21, 2013.

Scotia Group Jamaica Limited advised that a senior manager purchased 2,792 SGJ shares on June 24, 2013.

A senior manager of Sagicor Investments Jamaica advised that they sold 20,000 S shares on June 21, 2013.

A related party to Honey Bun (1982) advised that they sold 5,000 Honey Bun shares on June 25, 2013.

FX: Sharp changes in highest lowest rates

Wednesday, 26th June 2013 | The foreign exchange market was characterised mainly by sharp changes in the highest and lowest buying and selling rates than for changes in the average rates for buying and selling of foreign currencies on Wednesday.

Traders hiked the minimum selling rate for the US dollar by $16.17 to $98.50 on the day when they bought at 50 cents more or at $102 from the public than they did on Tuesday. The Canadian dollar was traded at $1.40 less at $96.80 at the high end and 50 cents less on the lowest rates when they bought and sold for 12 cents more or at $99.62 and $1.10 more on at the lowest rate which came in at $92.40. For the Pound sterling buying was 30 cents less for the highest rate of $156.70 and $6.11 more at the lowest buying rate while the selling rates slipped by $2.08 on the highest of $159.22 and the lowest which was $146.20 was lower by $4.55 than on Tuesday.

Total buying amounted to the equivalent of US$26.85 million and selling the equivalent of US$30.57 million.

The average rates for the US dollar inched down by 9 cents on the buy side and moved up two cent for sales with the selling rate closing at $101.31. That for the Canadian dollar fell 29 cents for the buying rate and was up 33 cents for the average sell rate which moved to $96.74.  The rate for the Pound fell 56 for the buying rate to close at $153.98 and was down 12 cents on the selling rate, to end at $155.49.

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Big payoff for Access owners

Access Financial Services declared an interim dividend of 31 cents per share payable on August 15, 2013 to shareholders on record as at August 9, 2013.  The ex-dividend date is August 7, 2013.

This is the first time the company is paying two dividends in one year. The last dividend paid was an interim dividend of $0.65 per share payable on February 27, 2013 to shareholders on record as at February 21, 2013 and related to 2012 profit.

The latest dividend announced will, when paid, bring the dividend payment to 96 cents for the year and will give shareholders a yield of 15.23 percent based on the stock price at the start of the year of $6.30. The Chairman has confirmed that “Access is likely to pay more than one dividend payment for the fiscal year going forward.”

The stock last traded at $8.15, a gain of 29 percent so far. IC Insider is projecting that the stock will rise much further as profit for this year could rise to well over $1 per share.

JSE: Advancing stocks clobbers declining ones

Wednesday, 26 June 2013 | While in yesterday’s stock market trading, declining stocks were more than advancing ones with 11 stocks declining and 8 gaining in price, today’s trading not only reversed the negative trend but clobbered declining stocks 16 to 6 with three stocks closing at new 52 weeks high.

The junior market index inched up marginally, to close at 796.02 up 7.19 points. The all Jamaica index declined by 229.71 points to close at 88,512.59 and the main market slipped 127.93 points to 87,135.91 at the close. The fall in Carreras stock which fell $3.50 to $52.50 and Jamaica Producers which shed $2.65 to close at $18.05 would have been the two main contributors to the decline. Carreras was reacting to the news on a ban on cigarette smoking in public, effective July.

The number of shares traded increased over that of yesterday’s volume of 5.8 million units with a value of $58.9 million. In today’s trading 7.6 million shares traded, but for a lessor amount of $36.7 million as Cable & Wireless which pulled in only $524, 000 accounted for more than 3.78 million of the volume that went through the market.

Junior market | Eight stocks traded in the junior market with 7 increasing in price. Dolphin Cove closed up 20 cents at a 52 weeks high of $8.65 with 6,200 shares. Lasco Manufacturing traded 135,128 shares between $15.50 and $16 but closed at $15.80 up 25 cents. Lasco Distributors traded 823,740 shares while gaining 22 cents to close at $15.77. Lasco Financial Services closed at an all-time closing high after the stock traded at $11.80 up 25 cents while trading 152,327 units. The stock traded as high as $12.50 during the day.

Main Market | Although the overall market enjoyed nearly $36.7 million of trading, $17 million came from the junior market with the two large Lasco companies continuing to be dominant in the market. Carreras was the big loser today and for the week to date, as investors shed 31,000 shares at prices that were all lower than yesterday’s close. Jamaica Producers shed $2.65 but with only 3,200 shares trading. Companies that had noticeable price action included Carreras which lost $1.40 to close at $56.50, Desnoes & Geddes gained back the 20 cents it lost yesterday to close at $5 with small volume trading. Grace also traded a small volume but the stock closed at $60, up 40 cents. Sagicor Life dropped 40 cents, closing at $8.40 with 11,157 units trading. Scotia Group traded 373,951 shares with the stock closing at $21.20 the same as yesterday.

IC bid-offer Indicator | At the end of trading, the IC bid-offer sentiment indicator shows that bids for 3 stocks were higher, with 2 stocks that had an offer that was lower than their last selling price — not a very bullish sign at this time.

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TTSE: Clico dominates

Wednesday, 26th 2013 | Ten stocks traded on the exchange on Wednesday with only one stock recording a price movement as Clico Investment Fund dominated trading with 1,341,576 shares valued at $30,856,248. One stock fell in price on the day as the conglomerate ANSA McAL declined by 2 cents to end the day at $67.20 while trading a mere 486 shares. The main market registered a volume of 189,797 shares valued at $378,214.

Jamaica Money Market Brokers had 107,880 shares changing hands for a value of $53,940. Trinidad Cement saw a volume of 61,153 shares trading for $58,006. Angostura Holdings contributed 10,000 shares with a value of $90,000 and Sagicor Financial Corporation accounted for 8,510 shares valued at $53,358.

IC bid-offer Indicator | At the end of trading, the IC bid-offer sentiment indicator shows that bids for 3 stocks were higher, with 3 stocks that had an offer that was lower than their last selling price.

At the close it appears that Witco with a PE of 26 and Unilever with a PE of 21 are poised for more gains ahead. So too is Scotia Investments, which had a bid of 117,000 shares at $1.78 on Tuesday saw the bid moving to $1.80 for 1,200 shares, the offer is for 21,878 share at $1.85. Others are showing signs of possible price gains are National Enterprises with a PE of 16, One Caribbean Media with a PE of 12.5, National Flour mills with a PE of 6.

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Unilever stock not supported by profits

When stock prices rise much faster than the growth in profits, we need to take time to take note of what is happening. Investors in such stocks should be fully conversant with the factors at play to ensure that their investment can be properly protected if, and when, the factors change.

Unilever Caribbean stock price is up 13 percent so far this year on top of a 45 percent increase in 2012, 44 percent in 2011 and 35 percent in 2010 after a 16 percent fall in 2009. The company a subsidiary of Unilever PLC, a United Kingdom company, is based in Trinidad and manufactures a range of homecare, personal care and food products for the Caribbean region, including Jamaica, and has been having a reasonable profit performance for a number of years. In fact they have been able to improve sales and margins in a market that has been in recession since 2009. The growth in the stock price is well in excess of the rise in profits for the past four and half years.

Some of the company’s brands include Mistolin, Radiante, Breeze, Vaseline, Lux, Lipton, Becel and Blue Band. The product range also includes dishwashing liquids as well as fabric conditioners.

unileverLogo150x150For the three months to March this year, revenues climbed to $133 .6 million up from $127.5 million for the same period in 2012 while profits were up to $13 million after tax compared to $11.9 million in 2012. The December quarter is the biggest period for earnings with more than a third being generated in the period. For 2012 full year to December the company reported after tax profit of $59.5 million an increase of 2.8 percent over that earned in 2011. Profit for 2011 was up 11 percent over 2010 and 2010 profit was up 26 percent over the previous year. Lower interest rates in Trinidad have helped to push the PE ratio to 21 times earnings at a current stock price of $53.25, up from 14 times in 2011 and 11.5 for 2010.

Unilever reported areas of success reflected in good growth in some of its products but also expressed concerns about rising input cost of some of the products it manufactures as well as competition from cheaper products. From all indications, management seems to have managed to steer the operations well resulting in improved margins, which moved from 61.8 percent in 2012 first quarter to 63.8 percent in 2013, a continuation of the marked improvement seen for 2012 when the margins for the full year came out at 63.7 percent vs the 59.2 percent enjoyed in 2011.

While cost increase seems to be under control in 2013 for the first quarter, that was not the case in 2012 when selling cost rose by $17 million or 17 percent and administrative cost rose 22 percent, well above the growth in revenues. For the quarter, selling cost rose by 4.8 percent and administrative cost rose 2.7 percent while revenues are up 4.75 percent.

The company boast equity capital of $176 million, has no interest bearing debt and a high current asset ratio with liabilities almost covered twice over.

The stock seems poised to rise further as demand exceeds the supply of the stock on the Trinidad market.

Remittance inflows dip

Total remittance inflows for the March 2013 quarter were US$492.5 million, a decrease of US$12.3 million or 2.4 per cent compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The inflows for the quarter were above the average for the previous five corresponding periods with the flows for January 2013 being the highest since 2010 with US$154 million, February inflows at $160 million was slightly under the US$167 received in 2012 and March was the worse month relative to 2012 as inflows fell by US$9.5 million to reach $178.4 million.

For the first quarter of 2013, net remittances were US$431.5 million, a decline of US$5.1 million or 1.2 per cent relative to the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The outturn for the quarter reflects the decrease in gross inflows, which was partially offset by a decline in outflows.

USD_Clock150x150The decrease in total remittance inflows reflected a US$14.2 million or 3.3 per cent deterioration in inflows through Remittance Companies. The decrease in inflows was partly offset by a US$1.9 million or 2.6 per cent increase in flows via Other Remittances sub-category.

Last year Jamaica received the highest amount of remittances in its history with $2,037 billion up from $2,019 billion in 2011. Prior to this period remittances peaked in 2008 at US$2,021 billion just after the global recent started to take hold.

The fall in remittances in the first quarter of this year may be linked to the fall in the value for the Jamaican dollar and the scarcity of foreign exchange during the period. Examination of past behaviour show a strong co-relationship between inflows and exchange instability. When there is instability in the foreign exchange market some of the funds that would normally flow into the formal financial system are diverted to end users and therefore never get reported.

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