JSE firms as rand reaches three-year high, with food and drug retailers strongest
The JSE pushed higher on Friday as banks and food and drug retailers gained from easing fears of a credit-ratings downgrade, but the bourse ended the week lower.
The rand was at a three-year high to the dollar, finding some support from the prospect of a Cabinet reshuffle this weekend. The reshuffle could mean SA sees the back of some of the more controversial or incompetent ministers.
Global sentiment was risk-on, with analysts saying optimism over rising economic growth was outweighing fears of monetary-policy tightening by major international central banks.
Locally, the rand firmed, as the market watched for a rumoured Cabinet reshuffle, with analysts saying further credit-ratings downgrades had become unlikely.
The tabling of the budget on Wednesday had been broadly supportive of local equities, although the release of minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s latest meeting — also on Wednesday — rattled global equity markets.
On Friday, banks, retailers and financial stocks gained on a stronger local currency, but this, along with softer precious metal prices, pushed the gold index lower.
However, BMI Research said gold miners should find support through the course of the 2018, as the rand weakened due to fading optimism that the government would adopt market-friendly policies.
Opposition within the ANC to such policies would be likely to mean that a change in policy direction would be delayed or impeded, BMI said.
The all share gained 0.96% to 58,715.5 points and the top 40 0.95%. Food and drug retailers gained 3.13%, banks 2.03% and financials 1.38%. Gold miners lost 0.95% and platinums 0.49%.
The all share lost 0.69% for the week.
Rand hedge British American Tobacco jumped 3.56% to R720, paring losses from Thursday, when it fell despite upping its dividend for the year to end-December by 15.2%.
Industrial group Bidvest added 2.43% to R235.
Investment holdings group Remgro rose 4.66% to R243.07 and Brait 2.66% to R42.79.
Northam lost 2.55% to R42.88 after earlier reporting that sales volumes dropped 3.9% in the six months to end-December compared to the prior period.
Barclays Africa gained 3.2% to R203.88 and FirstRand 2.38% to R76.07.
TFG gained 3.73% to R225.10 and Mr Price 2.39% to R287.45.
Spar jumped 4.87% to R221.12, Pick n Pay 3% to R74.28 and Clicks 3.59% to R178.39.
MTN added 3.26% to R130.
Liquor group Distell fell 0.52% to R137.50 earlier, despite saying it sold 3.7% more liquor — by volume — during the six months to end-December compared to the previous year.
Afrimat fell 4.17% to R28.99, after it earlier warned the market that it expected its headline earnings per share to decline at least 20% for the year to end-February.
Accentuate gained 3.33% to 62c, after earlier reporting that HEPS declined 150% in the half-year to end-December.
Resilient fell 2.07% to R68.50 and Fortress B 3.55% to R15.48, a day after both warned the market they were re-evaluating the valuations underpinning their relationship with their empowerment partner the Siyakha Education Trust.
Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow had gained 0.64% to 25,122.74 points, while European markets were mixed. The FTSE 100 had lost 0.26% while the DAX 30 had firmed 0.32% and the CAC 40 0.09%.
At the same time platinum had fallen 0.48% to $992.71 an ounce and gold 0.28% to $1,328.33. Brent crude was up 0.36% to $66.47 a barrel.