Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE gained on Friday as the rand slipped through R14 to the dollar, lifting rand-hedge mining stocks, in particular. But banks stumbled, pointing to a sense of anxiety in the market, just hours before Moody’s and SP Global Ratings deliver the long-awaited decisions on SA’s debt rating.

The country’s rand-denominated debt could be relegated to sub-investment grade, or so-called junk status, an outcome that could increase the cost of borrowing for banks.

Retailers and other "SA Inc" stocks could be affected by the ratings downgrade via a weaker currency, and reduced business and consumer confidence. However, the local share market as a whole stands to benefit as it is dominated by companies that make most of their income offshore.

The all share was up 0.3% to 60,476.10 points by lunchtime, with gold and platinum stocks gaining 1.81% and 2.76%, respectively, thanks to a weaker rand.

Other areas of the market were relatively subdued, partly because of a lack of fresh drivers from the overseas markets.

Europe’s leading markets were narrowly mixed at midday, after a positive session in Asia.

Wall Street, which invariably sets the tone for global markets, isn’t expected to do much when it opens in the afternoon, following the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, then by Black Friday.

Kumba Iron Ore was up 2.24% to R322.70 and Exxaro Resources 2.33% to R159.12.

AngloGold Ashanti was up 1.55% to R144.72, Gold Fields 1.94% to R58.82, and Sibanye 1.93% to R19.57. Impala Platinum was up 5.88% to R45.

FirstRand dropped 1.92% to R54.13, Standard Bank 1.87% to R167.50, and Barclays Africa 1.88% to R150.42.

Woolworths gained 2.21% to R56.48 and Steinhoff Africa Retail 1.91% to R25.14.

Construction group Murray & Roberts shed 2.64% to R12.56.

Naspers gained 1.5% to R3,797.95.

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