Wed | Aug 16, 2017

Nine Jamaican stocks triple gains in 2016

Published:Friday | January 6, 2017 | 1:00 AMSteven Jackson
Marlene Street Forrest, general manager of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

Nine stocks made triple-digit gains on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) last year as the market hit new records.

The market was mostly favourable as only 10 of the 65 stocks shed value.

Cargo Handlers Limited (CHL), which handles wharf activities in Montego Bay beat all stocks on the JSE combined markets, increasing nearly fourfold during 2016. The stock benefited from the liquefied natural gas project in Montego Bay, which saw increased usage of the CHL facilities.

CHL gained 395.2 per cent to close at $18.57. It beat bakery company Honey Bun, which led the market up to November and increased 375.6 per cent for the full year to close at $5.85.

Last year, JSE Group reported in its nine-month financial results that the improvement in business and consumer confidence translated to positive performance of listed companies and advances in all the Jamaica stock market indices.

The JSE Main Market Index closed the year at 192,276.64 points. That's up 27.6 per cent from 150,692.13 in 2015 when the Jamaican market led the world as the best performer, according to Bloomberg.

The JSE Junior Index climbed by nearly 45 per cent to close at 2,593.71 last year. The Combined Index rose by an overall 29.5 per cent.

This year, Bloomberg named Venezuela as the top performer, which improved more than 100 per cent, but said the gains are discounted due to hyperinflation in the economically troubled oil export-dependent South American country.

Other top stocks trading on the Jamaica exchange, located on the Kingston waterfront, included Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL), a cross-listed stock which rarely trades on the JSE. The cement stock gained 320 per cent, partly due to a takeover offer by Cemex on December 5.

Two weeks ahead of the offer, the TCL stock suddenly quadrupled in value to $58.50 on November 24 and continued rising to close the year at $62. Before that, the stock had stayed flat at $15 throughout the year, unmoved even by the break in the dividend drought in July, when shareholders were paid TT$0.04 per share.

AMG Packaging & Paper Company Limited increased 250 per cent to $24.51 due to increased earnings but also its new tissue market. Paramount Trading increased 234.4 per cent to close at $3.01 due to its profit and new lubricants factory.

The JSE led the world in 2015 based on strong earnings and acquisitions of large companies. Last year, the market added seven companies to the listing boards, six of which joined the junior market.

Stock market investors currently hold an estimated $900 billion of wealth, as denoted by market capitalisation. That's up $100 billion from 2015.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com