Picture SUNDAY TIMES/MOEKETSI MOTICOE
Picture SUNDAY TIMES/MOEKETSI MOTICOE

A generally positive tone on global markets helped the JSE close higher on Friday, with the local bourse registering its fourth consecutive week of gains.

Volumes were low on the day, at R11bn, compared with the usual daily average of R20bn. But rumours that had generated significant volatility in certain shares this week were absent.

Resources shares drew support from higher commodity prices‚ as the dollar weakened to a three-year low against the euro. A weaker dollar tends to boost demand for most commodities.

The all share added 0.8% to 60,083.1 points and the top 40 rose 0.89%.

Resources gained 1.99%, the property index 0.9% and financials 0.67%. Platinums fell 0.29%.

Diversified miner BHP lifted 2.94% to R279.59, Glencore 1.71% to R69.40 and Anglo American 1.47% to R298.08.

Sasol rose 2.17% to R448.

Embattled retailer Steinhoff International shed 7.85% to R6.22. French retailer Carrefour said earlier it had acquired Steinhoff’s 17% stake in online retailer Showroomprivé for half the €157.4m Steinhoff originally paid for it.

Naspers gained 1.45% to R3,613.74, tracking gains in Tencent, which gained almost 3% in Hong Kong.

Aspen Pharmacare fell 4.8% to R257.05, having surged 11% on Thursday when it recovered from rumours it was a target for a report into corporate governance. The company ended the week 4.44% lower.

The greenback recovered slightly on Friday afternoon after US inflation in December rose faster than expected. Core prices rose 0.3% month on month compared to economists’ expectation of 0.2%, and could push the US Federal Reserve to pursue more aggressive monetary policy tightening, reported Dow Jones Newswires.

Local data was downbeat, with the Absa purchasing managers index (PMI) falling 3.7 points to 44.9 in December, compared to a Trading Economics consensus forecast of 46.7.

Despite the weakening in activity in December, survey respondents reported being more optimistic with respect to future business conditions, said Investec economist Kamilla Kaplan.

This could suggest that the manufacturing sector was expected to improve its performance in 2018.

The Dow opened somewhat higher, as big banks began reporting fourth-quarter earnings.

Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow was up 0.62%, while in Europe the FTSE 100 had added 0.25% and the CAC 40 0.33%.

Platinum had gained 0.96% to $994.91 an ounce and gold 0.46% to $1,328.43. Brent crude was 0.15% higher at $69.20 a barrel.