The JSE was flat on Wednesday as banks and retailers fell on the weaker rand and only marginal growth in retails sales in April.

After a promising opening, the market was hit by risk aversion near the close with the Dow Jones industrial average opening more than 1% lower on renewed jitters around the troubled presidency of Donald Trump.

European markets were also down with the Paris CAC 40 down 1.50%, Germany’s Dax 1.24% and the FTSE 100 0.41%.

After reaching a best level of R13.04 to the dollar in intra-day trade the rand was last at R13.17 to the greenback as emerging-market currencies came under pressure on risk-off trade.

US President Donald Trump has been under fire following reports in The Washington Post that he divulged intelligence secrets to the Russians, now said to have emanated from Israeli sources.

The controversy relates to Russian leader Vladimir Putin offering to release a recording of the conversations between Trump and the Russian foreign minister and Russian ambassador in the US at last week’s White House meeting.

The all share closed 0.04% weaker at 54,001.90 points and the blue-chip top 40 added 0.16%. General retailers shed 1.89%, banks 1.76%, financials 1.02%, food and drug retailers 0.95%, and property 0.90%. The gold index jumped 4.32% and resources were 0.46% higher.

Bidvest was down 1.67% to R166.93 and Barloworld 3.55% to R111.86.

AngloGold Ashanti was 5.67% higher at R156.99 and Harmony 4.11% at R31.14.

Standard Bank lost 2.33% to R146.85 and Nedbank 2.25% to R217.

Discovery ended the day 2.09% weaker at R129.58 and Sanlam shed 1.41% to R70.47.

In retailers, TFG lost 4.44% to R140.48, Mr Price 2.35% to R144.50, and Steinhoff 1.33% to R67.

Construction firm Aveng plummeted 7.31% to R5.20. The company expects headline earnings per share in the year to February to drop by more than 20% from a year ago.

Growthpoint lost 1.02% to R25.14 and Hyprop 1.91% to R119.96.

Famous Brands closed 2.96% lower at R133 and Spur 3.22% to R30.10.

Bonds tracked the weaker rand with the benchmark R186 last bid at 8.69% from 8.62% previously.

Futures made slight gains with the near-dated top-40 Alsi futures index up 0.2% at 47‚830 points. The number of contracts traded was 23,327 from Tuesday’s 15,847.

With Maarten Mittner

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