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Index of most influential CARICOM companies down 9.6%

Stocks of the 30 most influential companies in the region, tracked on the CSX 30, are down by 9.6 percent over the first two weeks of 2011, though the broad Caribbean All Share Index(CASX)which tracks all common shares in CARICOM showed a small gain of 0.18 points.

The Caribbean Stock Market Report, generated by the Department of Management of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, looked at the two-week period from 3 January to 14 January 2011. It reported 48,970,973 shares traded over the period, with 49 posting gains, 42 declining and 30 remaining unchanged.

The CSX 30 was at 1129.7 at January 7, down 0.7 points for the year, and by January 14 had slipped another 8.8 points to 1120.8. Included in the index are three Bahamian companies: Commonwealth Bank, Finance Corporation of Bahamas(Finco), and Cable Bahamas. Finco was down 9.9%for the two week period.

During the period the greatest gains were posted byDominica Electricity Services, showing a 20 percent increase. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings posted a 10.4 percent loss to show the greatest decline for the period. Returns are presented in US dollars and movements in stock prices and exchange rates are reflected in the returns.

Cable and Wireless Jamaica, traded on the Jamaica Stock Exchange(JSE), posted the second strongest gains and greatest trading volume over the two week period, with a 16.2 percent return on a 29,478,579 volume. Other leaders in gains over the period included Consolidated Water, listed on the Bahamas International Securities Exchange(BISX), showing a 10.8 percent return on a trade volume of 500 shares.

Rounding out the top five stocks were Lasco Distributors, listed on the JSE and posting a return of 9.8 percent on a volume of 150,895, and Demerara Bank Limited trading on the Guyana Association of Securities Companies and Intermediaries Inc.(GASCI)showing a 9.3 percent return on volume of 5,000 shares.

Strong holiday sales and a good start to the winter season were likely behind the strong performances in the retail and distribution sectors, the communications and utilities sectors, and the tourism and real estate sectors, according to the report. The sectors are tracked by the CTRX which showed a 21 point gain, the CCUX which gained 13.8 points and the CTRX, which rebounded from 2010 to post a 9.5 point gain, respectively, all over the two week period.

In the retail and distribution sector the CTRX was led by Prestige Holdings(9.1 percent)and Carreras(7.26 percent). The communications and utilities sectors, led by Dominica Electricity Services’20 percent gain, also had strong performances from Cable and Wireless Barbados showing a gain of 10.8 percent.

Despite the strong performance in the retail sector, conglomerates declined over the two week period, with the Caribbean Conglomerate Index showing a 15 point drop. Declines in the manufacturing sector index(CMSX)posted by Kingston Wharves(9.9 percent)and Caribbean Cement Company(6.7 percent)mostly offset the gains posted by the rest of the index, which came in 1.6 percent down over the two-week period.

The Caribbean Banking Sector Index(CBSX)was down 7.5 percent over the two weeks ended January 14, and the Caribbean Insurance and Investment Index(CIIX)was also down 13.8 points for the period.

The Weekly Caribbean Stock Market Report and the tracking of the associated indices began in January 2010. Exchanges used for the report include the Eastern Caribbean Securities Exchange, the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange, the Jamaica Stock Exchange, the Bahamas International Securities Exchange, the Barbados Stock Exchange, and the Guyana Stock Exchange.

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