Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE was lower at lunchtime on Friday, with geopolitical concerns keeping risk appetite at bay.

North Korea has fired another missile over Japan, in a show of defiance to the international community, which recently slapped Pyongyang with sanctions after it conducted a nuclear bomb test earlier in the month.

The all share was off 0.24% to 55,714.70 points, in line with global markets, but investors’ reaction appeared muted this time, suggesting that the move by the isolated nation was discounted to a degree.

The underlying components on the JSE displayed a patchy performance, with a weaker rand not providing impetus to the local market, as is usually the case.

Major European markets were mostly lower at midday, with a stronger pound weighing on the UK’s FTSE 100, in particular, with the index last seen down 1.05%. This may have been worsened by an explosion in a London underground station this morning, which injured as many as 22 people. UK officials are treating it as a terror attack, although few details are available at this stage.

Sterling was much stronger against a host of other major currencies, after the Bank of England gave strong indications on Thursday that it could raise interest rates in the coming months.

"Given the importance the [UK monetary policy committee] placed on high-frequency data, sterling is likely be particularly sensitive to the data flow in the coming weeks," Brown Brothers Harriman analysts said in a note.

A number of big South African companies, including Old Mutual and Investec, are listed, and/or have operations, in the UK.

On the JSE, Exxaro Resources was up 1.98% to R121.36.

Harmony Gold gained 3.02% to R27.30 while Impala Platinum shed 4.08% to 35.08, following its year-end results on Thursday in which it reported a bigger loss than expected.

Brait, which is 35% owned by billionaire retail tycoon Christo Wiese, rose 1.79% to R57.

Liberty Holdings was off 1.7% to R105.55 and Anchor Capital 1.96% to R4.50.

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