Investment Director at Fortress, Roger Cave.

Investment Director at Fortress, Roger Cave.

Business Monday: BSE market index increases

THE market index on the Barbados Stock Exchange was up 5.6 per cent in 2018. This is according to the Fortress official, Roger Cave who said that the increase was driven by a 45 per cent gain in Goddard Enterprises Limited, the Fortress Caribbean Growth Fund largest holding.

He also said that shares in CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank, another holding of the Fund, rose 15 per cent during the year, as loan losses improved and results began normalising.
Cave, the Investment Director, made reference to regional stock markets and how the Fortress Fund did in those markets. In his report,

He pointed out that the Trinidad and Tobago market was down 2.1 per cent even though the economy there started to do better as energy prices recovered during the first half of 2018.
However, Jamaica has maintained its momentum and according to Cave, the stock market there was ahead of most of the world in 2018. It produced an index return of 31 per cent in 2018 following on from similar returns in 2016 and an 2017.

“Our holdings in Grace Kennedy, National commercial bank and PanJam Investment posted gains of 31 per cent, 40 per cent and 37 per cent respectively,” Cave pointed out.

“We reduced the positions in Grace Kennedy and Pan Jam during the year and added investments in Jamaica Broilers and Stanley Motta Limited,” he declared. Except for the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), other exchanges across the region with the possible exception of Guyana, have faced challenges as a result of economic problems in those countries. Economic growth has been negative in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago and the behaviour of share prices tend to reflect what has been taking place in the economy.

Cave said that companies will need to see continued growth in earnings just to support the existing prices, let alone drive share price performance. According to him, “If there is a downturn in the global economy and earnings were to disappoint, shares could be vulnerable to a correction. The overall exposure to the Fund is only five per cent and we continue to monitor the situation closely.”

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