The JSE edged lower on Thursday, taking a breather after reaching a series of peaks over the past few days, during which the all share added about 4%.

On Thursday, investors appeared ready to begin lightening their exposure to a few counters which had enjoyed a decent run in the past eight trading days.

The loss of momentum was also partly attributable to a continuing recovery in the rand holding back big dual-listed shares, which invariably set the direction for the market.

Soon after midday, the rand bought a single dollar for R13.50, from R13.86 at the start of the week, with the stronger currency proving favourable to certain segments of the market, including banks and retailers.

The all share was down 0.20% to 57,654.80 points at lunchtime, while the top 40 lost 0.31%.

Aspen Pharmacare was the best performer among the blue-chip companies, while the recently sold-down shares in the mid-and small-cap categories continued to recover.

Global markets chugged along at a steady pace on the day, after US Federal Reserve officials expressed concern about the medium-term outlook on inflation, which has, for some time now, been below its 2% target.

Luxury goods maker Richemont was off 1.28% to R123.49 and Naspers 0.85% to R3,192.79.

Aspen was up 2.97% to 316.04, its best level in about a year.

TFG gained 1.94% to R140.60 and Massmart 2.33% to R114.

Pioneer Foods added 2.07% to R120.01 but RCL Foods lost 0.63% to R15.70.

Harmony Gold was up 3.57% to R25.54 while Northam Platinum lost 3.56% to R46.88.

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