Global markets’ focus on Thursday is the US consumer inflation reading, with anything below 1.8% expected to pull the dollar lower.

A weaker dollar could hit rand hedge stocks on the JSE.

Asian markets trading ahead of the JSE’s open were mildly lower on Thursday morning, with risk aversion evaporating this week.

But the local market has also been grappling with disappointing economic data, and Moody’s warnings this week about certain sectors — such as mining — as well as the need for reforms to kick-start growth if SA is to avoid another ratings downgrade.

On Wednesday the JSE all share fell 0.38% and the top 40 dropped 0.37%.

General retailers fell 1.38%.

Data released on Wednesday showed retail sales growth was slower than expected in July, and sales in the general retailers category fell compared with a year earlier.

Food and drug retailers added 0.96%, though, and the gold index was up 0.32%.

Spot gold was little changed in Asian trade on Thursday, down just 0.1% at $1,321.66/oz, but fell overnight to its lowest for the month so far, as a result of investors’ growing willingness to take on risk.

Impala Platinum, which reports results for the year to end-June on Thursday, dropped 1.21% to R39.35 on Wednesday. It said in August it expected to record a headline loss per share of between R1.25 and R1.50, compared with headline earnings per share (HEPS) of 12c in the previous period.

Pharmaceutical group Aspen lost 2.01% to R285.54 on Wednesday. It too is due to release final results to end-June on Thursday. The company reported normalised HEPS of R126.37 in the previous period.

Grand Parade Investments got the bad news out of the way out early on Thursday morning. Basic earnings per share (EPS) were almost wiped out in the year to end-June, falling 90% to 4.39c, though revenue rose 25%. HEPS plunged 331% to a loss of 4.59c per share, from headline earnings of 1.99c per share a year earlier. The main culprits were its food investments, where it reported losses across the entire portfolio. Intrinsic net asset value per share rose 2.5% and gearing was reduced to 16.8% from 27.1%.

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