Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE closed flat on Friday, as local interest-rate-sensitive shares lost ground, but rand hedges ended the day higher.

Naspers was the main gainer among the bigger stocks, on the news that Google had concluded a licensing agreement with Chinese internet company Tencent, of which Naspers owns about a third.

Local shares, however, were sold off after a good run following the Reserve Bank’s decision to keep interest rates on hold on Thursday.

Retail shares, as well as those in the banking and financial sectors, would have benefited from a rate cut, which some analysts expected, given the stronger rand and higher GDP growth projections. But the Bank elected to take a cautious stance, keeping the repo rate at 6.75%.

Property stocks were under pressure earlier on Friday, but stabilised toward the close.

Global markets shrugged off an impending US government shutdown. The Dow opened flat but the FTSE 100 was last seen up 0.38% and the DAX 30 1.22%.

On Thursday, the US House of Representatives passed a one-month spending bill that would keep the government funded until February 16, but the stop-gap measure currently doesn’t have enough support to clear the Senate, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The current interim funding bill passed in December, expires at 5.01am GMT on Saturday.

"Investors don’t appear particularly bothered about the prospect of a government shutdown, with the assumption being that an agreement will eventually be signed and any economic impact will be minor or non-existent," Oanda analyst Craig Erlam said.

A softer rand supported rand hedges, as the currency battled to hold onto the week’s best level of R12.0654 to the dollar, and was about R12.20 at the JSE’s close.

Global miners and the platinum index ended the day higher, while gold stocks were lower despite a stronger metal price. At 5pm, the platinum price had added 1.2% to $1,013.96 an ounce and gold 0.6% to $1,334.

The all share closed 0.02% lower at 60,912.90 while the blue-chip top 40 gained 0.09%. Banks dropped 2.51%, financials 1.41%, property 1.4%, general retailers 1.15%, and food and drug retailers 0.98%. Resources added 0.71%, industrials 0.4% and platinums 0.15%.

The all share ended the week 1.38% higher.

BHP added 1.23% to R272.89 but Kumba Iron Ore lost 1.32% to R370.

Global luxury goods firm Richemont rose 1.29% to R114.05.

Lonmin shed 0.68% to R14.50. The group warned its debt-covenant levels, which have been temporarily suspended, will be breached because of an impairment of its assets.

Standard Bank lost 2.75% to R194.50, Nedbank 3.06% to R259, and FirstRand 2.47% to R64.47.

Steinhoff rocketed 10.13% to R7.61, with Steinhoff Africa Retail rising 2.58% to R19.90, while Massmart slipped 2.84% to R140.40.

Resilient was down 1.48% to R123.88, Nepi Rockcastle 2.15% to R169.71 and Greenbay 6.67% to R1.96.

Naspers rose 1.58% to R3,717.81.

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