Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE opened weaker on Tuesday in cautious trade, with miners marginally down despite firmer commodity prices in a stable rand environment.

Platinum lifted 0.48% to $928 an ounce. Gold gained 0.3% to $1,247.15 an ounce.

The rand was unchanged at R12.9818/$ in early morning trade.

Retailers led the weaker trend, with banks and fincancials under pressure in risk-off trade as the fallout continued from Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s recommendation that the Reserve Bank’s constitutional mandate on price stability be changed.

The Bank said in a statement on Tuesday morning that Mkhwebane’s call fell outside her powers and was unlawful.

"The Reserve Bank has been advised to bring urgent review proceedings to have the remedial action set aside and the Bank has resolved to do so," it said.

Asian markets were mixed following a record close on the Dow on Monday. The Dow was up 0.68% to 21,528.99. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.81% in Tokyo but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index shed 0.28%.

Analysts said the market mood was jittery follow Mkhwebane’s comments.

"Should the belief emerge that a potential adjustment of the Reserve Bank's mandate was possible, additional market weakness will materialise," Momentum SP Reid analysts said.

At 9.38am the all share was 0.25% lower at 51,485 and the blue-chip top 40 dropped 0.25%.

General retailers shed 1.18%, and food and drug retailers lost 1.01%. Platinum shares were off 0.83% and resources dropped 0.4%. The gold index edged up 0.09%. Banks lost 0.72% while financials shed 0.52%.

Anglo American was down 0.70% to R162.72.

Sasol lost 0.73% to R366.86. Brent crude rose 0.56% to $47.06 a barrel in early morning trade.

ArcelorMittal SA shed 2.59% to R5.26.

Brait lost 1.71% to R62.70.

Barclays Africa softened 0.59% to R144 after the Public Protector said Absa needed to repay more than R1bn to the fiscus following the apartheid-era Bankorp bail-out. Absa has rejected the claim.

Among retailers Shoprite was down 1.43% to R201.42, Pick n Pay lost 1.47% to R56.37 and Woolworths shed 1.49% to R61.48.

Among property stocks Hyprop gained 0.42% to R118.20 amid reports it was facing pressure from the closure of three Stuttafords outlets and possible similar steps at Edgars.

Telkom was down 1.26% to R64.90.

After a strong performance on Monday Naspers added another 0.2% to R2,600.

Spur dropped 1.34% to R29.50.

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