MARKET WRAP: JSE closes weaker as Naspers softens and platinums climb
The JSE all share closed weaker on Wednesday after four days of gains, as Naspers closed down for the first time in eight days, with platinum stocks the best performers on the day.
A strong run by Naspers supported the overall market for the past few days, but profit-taking resulted in it closing lower after Chinese internet company Tencent, of which Naspers owns about a third, softened in Hong Kong trade.
Tencent is now a $500bn company, with a bigger market value than Facebook, while Naspers has rocketed more than 90% so far this year.
Platinum shares were higher after Impala Platinum surged on optimism that new political leadership in Zimbabwe, following the exit of president Robert Mugabe, will support the group’s platinum interests in the country through its holding in Zimplats.
Gold stocks were also higher on a higher metal price and despite a firmer rand. This followed the announcement by Sibanye that it had obtained a 38% stake in DRD Gold.
Retailers recovered in the session, while banks were marginally firmer ahead of the Reserve Bank’s interest-rate decision on Thursday. No change is expected.
The all share closed 0.75% lower at 60,751.20 points and the blue-chip top 40 lost 1.04%. Industrials shed 1.65% and property 0.25%. The platinum index rose 4.33%, gold 3.49%, banks 0.37%, and financials 0.36%.
Sasol rose 2.4% to R438.91. Brent crude was 0.48% up at $62.97 a barrel soon after the JSE’s close.
Sibanye closed 5.15% higher at R19, but DRD Gold dropped 2.22%.
Impala Platinum was 9.81% up at R42.41 and Anglo American Platinum 0.91% to R377.42.
Among retailers, Mr Price added 3.26% to R208, Woolworths 2.32% to R55.56, and Pick n Pay 1.51% to R61.67.
The rand gained nearly 1% against the dollar, and was at R13.8527 to the dollar from R13.9706 soon after the JSE’s close.
Risk factors favoured the rand on the day, including Mugabe’s resignation and the expected return of vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa to the country on Thursday. He will be sworn in as interim president on Friday.
Local bonds followed the stronger rand with the R186 bid at 9.39% from 9.46%. US 10-year treasury bonds were last seen at 2.3391% from 2.3559%.
The top-40 Alsi futures index lost 1.29% to 54,728 points. The number of contracts traded was 18,427 from Tuesday’s 24,527.