Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE closed firmer on Friday with mining stocks carrying the day, as the all share delivered its best weekly performance in five weeks, despite market heavyweight Naspers coming under selling pressure.

Mining stocks gained on higher commodity prices, with the dollar little changed against the euro. Brent crude was 0.5% higher at the JSE’s close, at $72.50 a barrel, while the gold price had added 0.7% to $1,344.20.

A weaker rand towards the close resulted in a sell-off in local banking stocks with property counters also trending weaker.

Naspers slipped below R3,000 again after China’s March export data disappointed. Chinese internet group Tencent, of which Naspers owns 31.2%, closed lower in Hong Kong trade, dragging Naspers down.

News that Naspers could raise nearly R4bn by selling its 16.6% stake in Indian e-commerce player Flipkart to Walmart, was also not met well, as it is set to further increase the controversial discount between its stake in Tencent and Naspers’s present market cap.

After opening firmer on gains in financials, with JP Morgan beating expectations, the Dow turned weaker in later trade amid renewed concerns about escalating global tension and a possible resumption in trade tension.

Investors indicated some hesitation, as evinced by weaker stock prices ahead of a weekend that could bring fresh stress for markets with regards to US politics and its trade with China, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Traders were also still assessing another focal point of stress for equities this week — potential US action against the Syrian government, the newswire said.

The all share closed 0.15% higher at 56,563.20 points and the top 40 gained 0.15%. The gold index rose 2.7%, resources 2.16%, the platinum index 1.16% and general retailers 0.87%. Banks lost 0.52%, industrials 0.49% and property 0.37%.

The all share ended the week 1.22% higher.

Anglo American jumped 2.91% to R290.30 and Gold Fields 4.99% R47.80.

FirstRand dropped 1.63% to R65.86.

Steinhoff was under selling pressure again amid indications that its selling of Steinhoff Africa Retail (Star) shares to service debt might not be enough to save the company. The sale of Star shares this week delivered R3.75bn, with overall debt estimated at R150bn. Steinhoff plummeted 11.84% to R2.16 but Star gained 1.08% to R19.61.

Group Five rose 1.69% to R4.20 after reporting on Thursday an interim loss of R727.3m.

Resilient lost 1.32% to R63.40, while Hammerson tumbled 8.32% to R81.14, after rejecting French group Klépierre’s revised-higher takeover bid.

Naspers closed 2.44% lower at R2,995.

The top-40 Alsi futures index gained 0.27% to 50,402 points. It ended the week 1.52% higher. The number of contracts traded on Friday was 17,188 from Thursday’s 13,529.

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