MARKET WRAP: JSE closes flat as banks and retailers retreat
The JSE ended little changed on Thursday as the market failed to hold on to firmer levels on the day, with property stocks the out-performers.
A number of results from big companies were released on the day, supporting market sentiment earlier, but this fizzled out towards the close.
A strong recovery in property stocks in the Resilient stable saw the index gain more than 1% on the day, offsetting a weaker performance from Growthpoint and Redefine. Resilient said on Wednesday that it intended to restructure its controversial broad-based black economic empowerment entity and eliminate its cross-holdings with Fortress.
After opening in positive territory on upbeat annual results from Standard Bank, shares in the sector turned negative later as some risk-off sentiment prevailed. Retailers and financials were also hit by foreign selling on the prospect of US President Donald Trump signing new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports into law.
Platinum stocks suffered from a big drop in commodity prices on Wednesday night. The platinum price was last seen off 0.7% at $946.40.
European markets were up on a weaker euro after the European Central Bank (ECB) kept interest rates unchanged, as expected. The Dow opened firmer.
The JSE all share closed 0.06% lower at 58,926 points, but the top 40 gained 0.10%. General retailers fell 2.22%, platinums 1.91%, the gold index 1.57%, banks 1.45%, and food and drug retailers 1.48%. The property index was up 1.16% and industrials 0.22%.
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.
Resilient rocketed 9% to R68.31 and Nepi Rockcastle 9.43% to R124.40.
The rand was slightly weaker in choppy trade, as the dollar gained on the euro. This followed the ECB giving little further guidance on the easing of its monetary stimulus programme, instead intimating it would buy more bonds, if necessary, in a low-inflation environment.
The rand was at R11.9099 to the dollar from R11.8374 soon after the JSE’s close.
Local bonds trended firmer with the R186 bid at 8.09% from 8.11%. The US 10-year treasury was last seen at 2.848% from 2.8826%.
The top-40 Alsi futures index gained 0.28% to 52,200 points. The number of contracts traded was 23,679 from Wednesday’s 32‚894.