Picture: 123RF/SOLARSEVEN
Picture: 123RF/SOLARSEVEN

The JSE gave up earlier gains to close flat on Thursday, despite being bolstered by recent corporate announcements, while global risk-appetite improved as fears of a trade war eased.

Amid a slew of company results, MTN surged following the release of its finals, while Famous Brands came under pressure after releasing a full-year trading statement, which included a profit warning.

MTN ended the day up 10.12% to R135 after the cellphone operator returned to profitability in the year to end-December.

Standard Bank’s results‚ the strongest among the big four banks in the 2018 reporting season‚ earlier buoyed the banking index. Both, however, came under pressure from a weaker rand later in the day.

Shares in the Resilient stable continued their recovery, helping to lift the property index. On Wednesday, Resilient announced its intention to restructure a controversial broad-based black economic empowerment entity and eliminate its cross-holdings with Fortress.

Global focus remained on the possibility that US President Donald Trump would impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports in the US later on Thursday.

Trump said on twitter that he was going ahead with a "meeting" planned with metal industry executives and workers, scheduled for 10.30pm South African time.

There were, however, numerous suggestions Trump may either opt to use the ongoing issue as leverage, and that officials were not fully prepared to proceed, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The all share lost 0.06% to 58,926 points while the top 40 gained 0.1%. General retailers fell 2.22%, platinums 1.91% and banks 1.45%. The property index added 1.16% and industrials 0.22%.

Rand hedge Anheuser-Busch InBev gained 2.34% to R1,359.98 and Richemont 0.86% to R104.95.

Exxaro lost 4.52% to R121.38, despite earlier reporting revenue growth of 9% for the year to end-December.

FirstRand fell 3.38% to R69.51.

Standard Bank gave up 1.28% to R220.97‚ coming off an earlier record high of R231. The bank said earlier that headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the year to end-December grew 14% to R16.40.

Truworths slumped 4.02% to R106.61.

Spar fell 3.74% to R213.46 and Shoprite 2.31% to R269.14.

Aspen added 1.83% to R261.70, after saying earlier that HEPS rose 26% to R8.72 in the six months to end-December.

Stadio gained 5.49% to R6.15, ahead of its full-year results to end-December. The company said in February it expected a headline loss of between 1.14c and 1.60c, a 30% to 50% improvement from the prior period.

Famous Brands pared losses to close 5.79% lower at R114. It slumped almost 12% in earlier trade.

Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow was up 0.15%, while in Europe, the CAC 40 was up 1%, the DAX 30 0.57% and FTSE 100 0.41%.

At the same time, platinum was flat at $953.31 an ounce and gold had lost 0.41% to $1,320.09. Brent crude was off 0.84% to $63.96 a barrel.

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