Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The JSE came off the day’s highs at lunchtime on Wednesday, though it still held above the psychological 56,000-point barrier.

The all share was up 0.18% to 56,134.80 points, backed largely by industrial stocks as the resource sector lagged. Financial stocks and retailers built on their recent gains after domestic inflation moderated further in July, in line with expectations, backing the case for a potential cut in interest rates in the coming months.

Headline inflation moderated to an annual rate of 4.6% in July from 5.1% in June, Statistics SA data said earlier in the day.

Momentum Investments economist Sanisha Packirisamy is pencilling in a 50-basis point cut in rates by the end of the first quarter in 2018, if SA’s inflation profile stays within the Reserve Bank’s 3% to 6% target range. She said the timing of the two additional interest-rate increases are likely to depend on the rand’s moves in reaction to a potential rise in global risk aversion and domestic political developments.

Retail sector bellwether Shoprite bucked the positive trend in the sector, giving back 2% following an 8% rally in the wake of its year-end results on Tuesday. In contrast, consumer goods group Steinhoff rose more than 2% at one stage after the company said it would list its African retail assets on the JSE by the end of September.

Gold stocks rose as they looked to arrest a two-day slide, in line with the rebound in the gold price, while platinum miners lagged.

Europe’s leading markets were patchy at midday, after an equally lacklustre session in Asia.

"It’s been a slow start to trading on Wednesday, much in keeping with the rest of the week so far, as traders wait in anticipation for the Jackson Hole symposium taking place over the next few days," said a senior market analyst at Oanda.

Markets expect US Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen to pronounce on the direction of interest rates.

On the JSE, Mr Price was up 1.64% to R186 and Steinhoff 1.15% to R66.13.

Sanlam was up 1% to R70.76 and Discovery 1.37% to R146.22.

Investment group PSG Group was up 1.66% to R265.34 and Brait 1.69% to R60.07.

Impala Platinum was off 1.89% to R37.85 and Northam Platinum 2.43% to R43.29. Sasol lost 1.81% to R386.87.

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