Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

Risk-off sentiment returned to global markets on Friday, with the JSE trading lower in line with major global equity markets after North Korea fired another missile over Japan.

Some analysts had expected some sort of response from North Korea after the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a suite of new sanctions against the country on Monday. The sanctions were, however, watered down, with US President Donald Trump warning earlier in the week that they were insufficient.

In a rare move, South Korea responded to the launch on Friday by immediately conducting a simulated strike of the North Korean launch site, an air base near Pyongyang, reported Dow Jones Newswires.

Global bourses had staged a recovery this week‚ as a feared missile test at the weekend did not take place, and investors began returning to riskier assets. Gold miners had lost about 4% so far this week, but had recovered some of these losses on Friday morning.

At 9.40am the all share was down 0.47% to 55,587 points and the top 40 0.58%.

Platinums were off 1.36%, banks 0.86%, industrials 0.43% and financials 0.41%.

Gold miners added 0.31%.

In terms of local data, the cupboard is bare, with focus shifting to the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee meeting next week.

The all share was exhibiting marginal some structural weakness but, for the present, the short-term support area at 55,480 points retained its significance, said Momentum SP Reid Securities analysts.

An ability of the market to hold ahead to this area in the sessions ahead would allow for additional structural improvement, but a breach below this level would open the likelihood of weakness to the area at 54,600 points, the analysts said.

Diversified miner Glencore was off 0.78% to R61.27, BHP 0.79% to R237.66 and Anglo American 0.69% to R229.30.

Sasol had slumped 1.28% to R395.95.

Rand hedge British American Tobacco was up 0.85% to R836.51 and Richemont 0.32% to R118.68.

Industrial group Bidvest had dropped 0.98% to R161.39 and Imperial holdings 0.53% to R188.99.

Trading ex-dividend, Standard Bank withdrew 0.95% to R157 and FirstRand 1.15% to R53.42.

Retailer Shoprite was off 1.7% to R208.27.

MTN lost 1.04% to R121.90.

Trading ex-dividend, Naspers had dropped 1.3% to R2,926.67.

Aspen was up 1.24% to R313.69, after reporting on Thursday that normalised headline earnings per share had increased 16% in the year to end-June compared with the prior period. Trading ex-dividend, Adcock Ingram had lost 1.18% to R60.28.

European markets were lower, with the FTSE 100 off 0.41%, the CAC 40 0.08% and the DAX 0.05%.

Platinum had dropped 0.61% to $979.05/oz and gold 0.24% to $1,326.59/oz.

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