Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE began the week on a positive note, with the market waiting for policy signals from central banks. Despite a weaker rand, interest-rate sensitive stocks such as banks and financials rallied, with the latter buoyed by market-pleasing results from Discovery.

The all share was back above 56,000 points, with analysts warning momentum could ease on Wednesday when the US Federal Reserve releases its latest policy statement.

Locally, consensus is for the Reserve Bank to cut interest-rates for a second time this year on Thursday. The monetary policy committee had in recent years placed great emphasis on SA’s external vulnerabilities, despite the negative effect on the weak domestic economy, said Old Mutual Multi-Managers strategists Dave Mohr and Izak Odendaal. A weak dollar and poor local economic indictors helped support the prospect of a rate cut.

The all share closed 0.73% higher at 56‚050.10 points and the blue-chip top 40 gained 0.94%. Banks rose 2.67%‚ financials 1.35%‚ industrials 0.61% and resources 0.53%. Gold shed 3.08% and platinum 2.03%.

Kumba Iron ore ended the day 2.93% lower at R214.

Richemont added 1.71% to R121.54 but British American Tobacco shed 0.64% to R843.56.

Harmony Gold plummeted 5.35% to R26.03‚ AngloGold Ashanti 3.97% to R126.23 and Gold Fields 2.37% to R56.75.

Impala Platinum ended the day 3.01% lower at R33.20. It has lost more than 17% since the release of disappointing annual results last week.

FirstRand rose 3.18% to R54.56‚ Standard Bank 2.75% to R161.12 and Nedbank 2.4% to R205.50.

Discovery gained 2.82% to R146, after earlier reporting a 20% increase in diluted headline earnings a share‚ to 682.5c‚ for the year to end-June.

Sanlam added 2.15% to R68.52 and Old Mutual 2.05% to R35.34.

Naspers rose 1.09% to R2‚955.90.

European and US markets were higher‚ with the all three major US bourses reaching record highs.

At 5.40pm the Dow had gained 0.35%‚ the S&P 500 0.27% and the Nasdaq 0.39%. The FTSE 100 had added 0.52%‚ the CAC 40 0.19% and the DAX 30 0.29%.

Gold was off 0.58% to $1‚308.44 an ounce and platinum 0.62% at $959.87. Brent crude lost 0.88% to $54.99 a barrel.

The top-40 Alsi futures index gained 0.62% at 49‚600 points. The number of contracts traded was 95‚464 from Friday’s 47,192‚ ahead of the futures close out on Thursday.

With Maarten Mittner

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