Financial Adviser | Where to find financial information on listed companies
QUESTION: I would like to first thank you for your very informative articles in the Jamaica Gleaner. I am interested in investing in stocks and I have started doing some research. However, I am unable to find the following information for companies trading on the JSE (including the Junior JSE): debt to equity ratio; intrinsic value calculation; 10-year data on EPS, book value and dividend payment. Is it possible to say where I might be able to find this information?
FINANCIAL ADVISER: Research is key to investing successfully and particularly for investing in the stock market. There are at least two sources from which you can get the information you need, but you may have to make some calculations from the available figures.
The Jamaica Stock Exchange Yearbook and the annual reports of the listed companies are the sources to which I refer. Fortunately, the yearbook and some annual reports are online. Being so early in 2016, you will not find full reports for later than 2014 in either case but the JSE website - www.jamstockex.com - carries the unaudited quarterly financial reports of the listed companies, which should give you an indication of the performance of the companies for 2015. You should also be able to source the dividends declared by the companies from it.
These sources also provide information for several years. Some companies give financials for ten years and the stock exchange for five or six years. This should make it relatively easy for you to observe trends and to compare the companies.
Bear in mind that although historical information is useful in assessing the strengths of a company and its management and may give a reliable indication of how well a company can do in the future, when you buy stocks, you are buying future profits so it is important to be aware of developments that are taking place in the environment - economic and political, for example.
I will share some of what you will find. In the Jamaica Stock Exchange Yearbook, you will find information such as the number of issued shares of each company and the shareholders' equity, from which you can calculate the book value. You will also find the debt: equity ratio, earnings per share, return on equity and the total dividends paid during the year. You should be able to calculate the dividends per share as the number of issued shares is also given as I mentioned previously.
There is much more: a record of bonus issues and stock splits, the turnover, pre-tax and post-tax profits of the companies, the relevant percentage changes and monthly trading volumes and values.
The corporate information given by the companies in their annual reports varies but you will find very valuable information. You will find key data from their profit and loss account and balance sheet as well as key financial ratios. The websites of the companies you have an interest in should be helpful to you.
By putting the full annual reports online, the companies have made available to the public valuable notes to the financial statements, the directors' report, the report of the management and other valuable information which will help you understand the performance of each company and the context in which it operated.
I am confident you will make good use of the information you unearth and appreciate your expression of thanks for the usefulness of this column to you. I wish you success.
Oran A. Hall, principal author of 'The Handbook of Personal Financial Planning', offers personal financial planning advice and counsel.