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Communication, utilities stocks lead CARICOM indices

The first week of February showed subdued trading compared to a more bullish January for the six stock exchanges in the Caribbean Community and Common Market(CARICOM), with 19.98 million shares changing hands for the week of January 31 to February 4, 2011. January’s trading volume was 107.41 million shares.

The leading index has been the Caribbean Communications and Utilities Index(CCUX), which has shown a 12.53 percent increase year to date. The Caribbean Retail and Distribution Index(CMSX)had the second best results, showing a 5.38 percent increase over the same period. The Caribbean Insurance and Investment Index(CIIX)and the Caribbean Conglomerate Index experienced decreases of 1.04 percent and 1.23 percent for the period.

For the first week of February, 37 stocks advanced, 14 declined, and 70 were unchanged, according to the Caribbean Stock Report, generated by the Department of Management Studies, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados. Light and Power Holdings was both the volume leader and posted the highest gains, with Emera Holdings of Canada paying a$6.85 per share premium and acquiring an additional 42 percent of the company’s outstanding shares, generating a volume of 6,174,339 shares traded for a 114.16 percent return. The shares traded at US$12.85 each.

The trade volumes of the other market leaders for the first week of February were 4,669,724 for Gleaner, 1,269,709 for National Commercial Bank Jamaica, 1,145,112 for Sagicor Life Jamaica, and 1,102,709 for Scotia Group Jamaica. January’s trade volume leaders were Cable and Wireless Jamaica(50,712,092 shares traded), Gleaner(30,390,821 shares traded), Dove Cove(21,041,629 shares traded)and Jamaica Broilers(4,652,227 shares traded). The Light and Power Holdings transaction fell into both the month of January period and the first week of February period.

The Caribbean Junior Market Index(CJSX), which tracks stock performance on CARICOM’s junior or secondary markets, added a strong January performance to its 2010 success, where it was the strongest performing index tracked by the Caribbean Stock Report. January’s results for the CJSX showed a 4.99 percent increase for a 57 point advance. During the first week of February, however, the index retreated 13.7 points, or 1.14 percent.

Stocks on the Caribbean AllShare Index(CASX)advanced 19.86 points for a 1.97 percent increase in January, and were up 1.8 points(0.17 percent)for the first week of February period. The Caribbean Select Index(CSX 30)was up 6.2 points(0.54 percent)in January, and up 10.2 points for a 0.9 percent increase for the February first week period. Leaders in the CSX index for the February period included Agostini, up 5.0%; Carreras, up 3.28 percent; and Grace Kennedy, up 1.77 percent.

Stocks in the CCUX continued to post the strongest results, with the index growing by 85 points or 7.64 percent for the first week of February. For the period, 5 stocks on the index posted gains, 7 were unchanged, and 2 declined. Not including Emera’s acquisition of a large block of Light and Power Holdings shares, Consolidated Water Bahamas was the index leader with a 3.81 percent increase. Cable and Wireless Jamaica shares fell 2.82 percent, but the decline comes on the heels of strong increases in January.

In the retail and distribution sectors, the CDRX gained 29 points, up 2.68 percent for the week led by Agostini, already mentioned. Manufacturing stocks showed signs of strengthening, with the CMSX increasing by 10.45 points or 0.92 percent for the period. Kingston Wharves led the index with 27 percent gains. Conglomerates, tracked on the CCSX, were up 0.4 percent or 4.2 points for the period, led by Bank Holdings with a 2.6 percent gain.

For the first week of February period, the CTRX, which tracks tourism and real estate holdings, showed a 0.6 point increase for the week, up 0.7 percent. The CIIX index, which measures Caribbean Insurance and Investments, was down 1 point or 0.1 percent. Despite a gain of 2.57 percent by Barita Investments, that index was dragged down by decreases of 6.35 percent by Mayberry, and 2.91 percent by Caribbean Financial Services.

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