MARKET WRAP: JSE ends flat as miners gain on rand and Steinhoff falls further
The JSE all share closed flat on Thursday as miners rallied on the weaker rand, while retailers and banks were lower.
The rand weakened more than 1.2% to R13.6892 to the dollar in intraday trade, after the greenback firmed below the $1.18-level to the euro, on optimism that the tax reform bill would soon be passed by both houses in Congress.
Commodity prices were marginally off, with platinum losing 0.45% to $899.29 an ounce and gold 0.75% to $1,253.71.
Brent crude recovered 0.95% to $61.8 a barrel after being sold off on Wednesday, as US stockpiles data came in higher than expected.
Steinhoff had another disastrous day, losing a further 43.21% to R10 amid indications that the road ahead would entail drawn-out investigations into the company by regulatory authorities in Germany, the US and SA. Steinhoff is now down 86% in 2017.
Naspers rebounded on a sparkling performance by Chinese internet company Tencent in Hong Kong trade. Naspers owns about a third of Tencent, which came under pressure earlier on a global sell-off in tech stocks.
The market heavyweight ended the day 2.52% higher at R3,532.02.
The all share closed 0.01% up at 58,013.20 points and the bluechip top 40 gained 0.16%. The platinum index rose 2.2%, resources 0.93% and the gold index 0.85%. General retailers dropped 1.93%, food and drug retailers 1.4%, banks 1.03% and financials 0.81%.
PSG shed 2.86% to R268.50 and Brait 5.21% to R40.02.
Woolworths shed 3.35% to R58.27.
Capitec lost 2.79% to R949.75. Comair gained 5.45% to R5.80.
The rand was at R13.6742 to the dollar from R13.5051 soon after the JSE’s close and at R18.3336 to the pound from R18.0971.
Much of the market’s focus was on the US, where it is hoped negotiations between the House of Representatives and the Senate would be settled soon so the tax bill could be passed. Ongoing political issues centred on US President Donald Trump — including relations with North Korea and the recent announcement the US would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The local bond market followed the softer rand, with the R186 bid at 9.24% from 9.16%. Analysts said the market was subdued as the festive season approached.
The top-40 Alsi futures index gained 0.3% to 51‚923 points. The number of contracts traded was 21,795 from Wednesday’s 27,081.