The JSE fared poorly on Wednesday, acting out of kilter with its peers in Europe for the second consecutive day.

The all share was down 1.05% to 58,463.20 points at lunchtime, as all its main underlying indices dropped on account of several factors, including a stronger rand.

For a few weeks now, the local currency has been a thorn in the side of some of the big mining and industrial stocks, whose losses have more than offset a recent big rally in the shares of a number of companies that feed predominately off the local economy.

Despite being little changed on the day, British American Tobacco shares are down 16% since the start of the year, contributing to the 2% drop in the all share over the same period.

Gold miners were down a whopping 18% in 2018, partly as a result of a stronger rand and erratic metal prices.

Banks and retailers were weaker, suggesting continued profit-taking in the two sectors that shot the lights out in the few weeks following political developments in the country.

"After euphoria comes either a big fall or, at least, consolidation. We are firmly in a consolidation phase, both on the JSE and Wall Street," said Gerhard Lampen, head of online trading at Sanlam Private Wealth.

"After a quick 10% correction last month these markets picked up again, but have so far not made new highs. Markets rallied to expensive territory and are now waiting for earnings to show the improvement the rise in share prices expect."

Europe’s leading markets were higher at midday, despite a negative hand-over from Asia, where the Nikkei 225 shed 0.87%.

Sentiment on the global stage was still twitchy after US President Donald Trump fired his secretary of state Rex Tillerson, once again raising questions about the stability of his administration, which has lurched from one controversy to the next. The news came less than a week after Trump’s economic adviser‚ Gary Cohn‚ quit amid reports of disagreement over US import tariffs.

Media and internet group Naspers dropped 1.66% to R3,521.50 and food services group Bid Corporation 2.08% to R261.63.

Healthcare stocks were also under pressure, with Mediclinic losing 1.92% to R98.73 and Netcare 2.04% to R24.98.

Woolworths gave up 3.27% to R60.70, Truworths 4.22% to R99.56, Massmart 3.62% to R165.29, and Clicks 3.25% to R171.61.

Sibanye-Stillwater surrendered 3.64% to R11.37, Impala Platinum 2.58% to R26.45, and Sasol 1.77% to R404.71. Kumba Iron Ore rose 2.55% to R315.50 and Exxaro 5.86% to R110.41.

Investment group Remgro slipped 1.76% to R232.02 and Brait 4.77% to R38.95.

EOH plummeted more than 20% to R59 after the release earlier of a disappointing trading update. The company said it expected to report a decline of up to 30% in interim headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the six months to end-January.

MTN lost 2.18% to R127.64 and Vodacom 2.36% to R162.09.