JSE opens weaker, Naspers tumbles on Chinese probe of Tencent
The JSE all share opened sharply weaker on Friday as Naspers tumbled nearly 4% on the Chinese government’s announced investigation into alleged "cyber-security violations" among Chinese internet companies.
Resources on the JSE were lower, but gold shares gained on continued concern about geopolitical tension, with President Donald Trump saying that "North Korea should be very nervous" following Pyongyang’s threat to direct missiles at the US base at Guam.
The Chinese investigation is targeted towards Tencent, of which Naspers owns a third, as well as other large Chinese internet companies, including Baidu and Sina Weibo.
An English translation of a notice on the office for cyberspace administration website said the social media platforms of the three companies — WeChat, Tieba and Weibo respectively — have users spreading "violence and terror, false rumours, obscene pornography and other content that endangers national security, public safety and social order," CNBC reported.
Naspers has been the all share’s top performer so far this year, up 40% at one point.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 1.98% lower on Friday and the Shanghai composite had lost 1.63%.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed 0.93% lower at 21,844.01 on Thursday as concern about North Korea gripped markets.
Analysts expect cautious trade to continue on Friday, as risk-off sentiment is increasingly gaining traction.
The Dow is down 1.13% so far this week, the worst performance since March.
Credit ratings agency Moody’s is scheduled to issue a review of SA’s credit rating after US markets close on Friday. No change is expected.
Moody’s is the only one of the big three ratings agencies to still hold SA’s sovereign credit rating one notch above junk.
At 9.30am the all share index was 0.80% lower at 55,254.30 and the blue-chip top 40 had lost 0.90%. Industrials lost 1.02%, resources 0.91%, platinum 0.80% and general retailers 0.66%. The gold index rose 1.55% and property was up 0.17%.
Naspers was 3.33% lower at R2,750.26.
Among the big global miners Glencore dropped 2.68% to R56.03 following disappointing interim earnings on Thursday.
Anglo American was 2.09% lower at R216.91.
Kumba Iron Ore shed 2.25% to R199.42.
Among gold stocks AngloGold Ashanti rose 2.41% to R133.91, Harmony 1.85% to R24.17 and Sibanye 1.51% to R19.44.
Liberty Holdings continued to be under pressure following its disappointing interim results earlier in the week, falling 1.70% to R102.82. It is down 2.35% for the week.
Among retailers Woolworths shed 0.93% to R63.78.
Telkom lifted 0.94% to R65.41.
Spur dropped 1.41% to R28.59.