Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE clawed back some of its losses late on Tuesday to close little changed, as investors traded cautiously ahead of the US Federal Reserve policy statement on Wednesday.

Property stocks with overseas portfolios gained, while rand hedges were mixed.

The Fed’s policy statement is the key event this week and is being closely watched as the US considers tightening monetary policy. This caused some risk-off trade, and the rand seemed to be under-performing compared to its emerging-market peers, said Rand Merchant Bank analyst John Cairns.

While some may point to local politics, arguably the environment had improved this month and, at most, increased focus on the December ANC national elective conference could have resulted in hedging, said Cairns.

The rand failed to track euro gains, with the latter receiving some support on upbeat German manufacturing data on Tuesday. A firmer dollar and softer prices for some commodities weighed on resources, with the platinum price reaching its lowest level in six weeks.

The all share closed 0.07% lower at 56‚011.20 points‚ while the blue-chip top 40 gained 0.03%. The platinum index shed 0.74%‚ food and drug retailers 0.67%‚ general retailers 0.64%‚ the gold index 0.32%, and banks 0.31%. Property gained 0.20%.

Rand-hedge Naspers closed 0.65% higher at R2‚975‚ but Richemont shed 0.91% to R120.43.

After being down as much as 9% in early-morning trade Sibanye-Stillwater ended the day 6.22% lower at R16.43. The gold and platinum producer said it was launching a $450m convertible bond to complete the acquisition of US-based Stillwater.

Investors responded favourably to Rand Merchant Investment Holdings‚ which earlier reported an 18% rise in full-year normalised earnings to R3.9bn. Its shares closed 4.26% higher at R41.60.

Retailer Shoprite dropped 0.74% to R207.53‚ ahead of the listing of Steinhoff’s African retail interests on Wednesday. Steinhoff added 0.34% to R62.83.

Truworths shed 2.14% to R78.47 and Brait 1.66% to R55.20.

Construction and engineering firm Murray & Roberts gained 5.53% to R16.99 and Basil Read 2.82% to 73c.

In the property sector Capital & Counties added 0.84% to R48.11‚ MAS Real Estate 1.85% to R27.50, and Nepi Rockcastle 1.15% to R187.65.

EOH Holdings lost 5.37% to R98.15‚ despite earlier reporting a 16% rise in full-year headline earnings per share to R8.32‚ which was roughly in the middle of its recent guidance.

Mondi Plc was 1.22% lower at R365.01.

At 5.40pm, the Dow had gained 0.1%‚ the FTSE 100 0.28%, and the CAC 40 0.07%‚ while the DAX 30 was unchanged.

At the same time, gold was flat at $1‚308.09 an ounce and platinum had lost 1.42% at $948.64. Brent crude was off 0.25% to $55.26 a barrel.

The top-40 Alsi futures index relinquished 0.08% to 49‚599 points. The number of contracts traded was 167‚920 from Monday’s 95‚464‚ ahead of the futures close-out on Thursday.

With Maarten Mittner

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