Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE was weaker in nervous trade at midday on Wednesday ahead of the budget speech, which is due to be delivered by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in Parliament shortly after 2pm.

Markets are expected to be largely cautious leading up to the event.

Nedbank analysts said the budget was expected to be in line with expectations with tax increases on the cards together with continued restraint in government spending.

While the national budget will take centre stage, the market has entered reporting season so individual company results are likely to contribute to sentiment.

At midday the all share was down 0.89% to 52,119.9 points‚ with the blue-chip top 40 having shed 1.03%. Banks, financials, and resources were the biggest losers, with all the major indices taking a hit.

On the international front the Dow Jones industrial average was 0.58% firmer overnight while Asian markets were mainly higher this morning.

European markets were slightly higher at midday despite investors continuing to remain cautious ahead of France’s presidential election on April 23. The Paris CAC 40 was up 0.33%‚ Germany’s Dax 0.21% and the FTSE 100 0.16%.

Diversified miner BHP Billion shed 2.17% to R224.08 and Anglo American 3.31% to R212.67.

Rand hedge stocks were mixed, with British American Tobacco gaining 0.18% to R814.68 while Richemont lost 1.28% to R98.64 and AB InBev 1.1% to R1,417.

AngloGold Ashanti was 1.62% lower at R162.36 and Gold Fields 0.14% to R42.14.

Barclays Africa led the losses in the banking sector, shedding 2.53% to R156.21.

Shoprite and Steinhoff were down after having rallied for the past two days on news that their proposed merger was cancelled. Shoprite lost 0.63% to R193.40 and Steinhoff 0.76% to R71.45

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