JSE closes weaker as firmer rand pummels miners
The JSE closed lower on Tuesday, as mining stocks pulled the market down on disappointing data from China and softer commodity prices.
The rand clawed back some of its losses against the dollar as the euro gained on the greenback following the release of upbeat German economic data. Germany reported the fastest pace of growth since the first quarter of 2011. It expanded by 0.8% during the three months to September.
The rand gained more than 0.6% to the dollar to an intra-day best level of R14.3451, before weakening again.
Banking stocks were flat while property gained. Retailers were mixed ahead of the release of September’s retail sales data on Wednesday.
Chinese industrial output growth slowed to an annual 6.2% in October from 6.6% in September. Its fixed-asset investment increased 5.8% in the first 10 months of 2017, lower than a previous 6%, raising concern about slowing economic growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
Lower oil prices added to the concern. Soon after the JSE’s close, Brent crude had dropped 1.08% to $62.42 a barrel. SP Angel Commodities said in a note that oil prices were expected to trade sideways in the short term.
Miners also experienced some profit-taking following a strong run, which began in January. The resources index has risen 20% so far this year, and, including dividends, is at a two-and-a-half-year high.
Stanlib retail investment director Paul Hansen said prudence would indicate that it was probably not the time to buy resources shares. "It may be time to take some profits, because it is the most unpredictable of all the sectors."
European markets were generally lower on the firmer euro, which is bound to hit eurozone exporters. The Dow was 0.62% weaker soon after the JSE’s close.
The all share closed 0.51% lower at 59,518.90 points and the blue-chip top 40 lost 0.48%. The gold index shed 3.81%, platinums 3.55%, resources 2.31%, and general retailers 0.44%. Food and drug retailers gained 0.07% and property 0.23%.
BHP dropped 2.63% to R263.88 and Anglo American 2.11% at R277.50.
Sasol lost 1.36% to R436.67 as oil prices dropped sharply near the close.
Consolidated Infrastructure group lost a whopping 57.23% to R3.40 after the small-cap company warned that full-year headline earnings per share (HEPS) would drop by 55%.
British American Tobacco dropped 1.57% to R927.18.
AngloGold Ashanti shed 4.22% to R137.45 and Gold Fields 4.01% to R54.75.
Impala Platinum plunged 7.44% to R37.10 and Anglo American Platinum 2.72% to R396.17.
Barclays Africa gained 1.28% to R143.70 but Standard Bank shed 0.86% to R165.18.
Retailer Steinhoff dropped 2.94% to R53.87 and Massmart 4.05% to R106.
Property group Nepi Rockcastle gained 2.2% to R206.45.
Life Healthcare added 2.85% to R25.66. It said in a trading update on Monday that HEPS were expected to drop by up to 60% for the year to end-September.
Mondi plc shed 1.14% to R337.28.