Bourse course: After being the only player in SA’s stock exchange arena, the JSE has company. Picture: REUTERS
Bourse course: After being the only player in SA’s stock exchange arena, the JSE has company. Picture: REUTERS

The JSE gave up earlier gains to close lower on Thursday, snapping a five-session winning streak.

British American Tobacco came under pressure amid bad news for the tobacco sector, falling 6.85% to R618.99 on the local bourse. This was after rival Philip Morris tumbled in US trade, following the latter’s report of disappointing revenue growth.

Local corporate news was more positive, with both Pick n Pay and Clicks releasing market-pleasing results, while Pioneer’s report of an improved performance seemingly came in below investor expectations.

At the JSE’s close, banks and financial stocks had given up earlier gains that followed overnight rand strength.

Miners benefited from rising commodity prices, with nickel and oil jumping to multiyear highs.

Brent crude was above $74 for the first time since 2014, lifted by data showing declining US inventories, as well as comments from Saudi Arabia that it was eyeing $100 a barrel.

The property index delivered a strong performance, led by companies in the Resilient stable.

Global stocks were mixed, but analysts said easing geopolitical risk and mostly positive US corporate results were prompting a return to equities.

With US markets now back in positive territory for the year, it seemed investors had changed gear into risk-on mode, Vestact analysts said. "Volatility is dropping, bond prices are down, commodity prices are higher and ultimately stock prices are higher."

The all share fell 0.32% to 57,526.8 points and the top 40 slumped 0.58%. Platinums gained 2.24%, property stocks 1.64%, gold miners 1.16% and food and drug retailers 1.11%. Industrials slipped 0.73%.

Rand hedge Richemont lost 1.27% to R114.63 and Anheuser-Busch InBev fell 1.08% to R1,265.

Pick n Pay rocketed 8.9% to R75, after earlier reporting a 7% growth in net profit and sales growth of 5%, in the year to end-February.

Clicks lifted 2.48% to R200.50 — a record high — after saying earlier that net profit rose 16.4% to R677m in the six-months to end-February.

Pioneer Foods plummeted 6.65% to R118.55, despite earlier informing the market it expected headline earnings per share for the half-year to end-March to rise between 22% and 32%.

Resilient added 7.37% to R68.50 and Fortress B 6.87% to R16.80.

At 5.40pm gold was off 0.59% to $1,341.22 an ounce and platinum 0.8% to $934.05 an ounce. Brent crude had gained 0.75% to $74.35 a barrel.

At the same time, the Dow was off 0.18% at 24,703.58 points, while in Europe the FTSE 100 was up 0.18% and the CAC 40 0.18%, while the DAX 30 was 0.24% lower.

The top-40 Alsi futures index lost 0.46% to 51,310 points. The number of contracts traded was 24,085 from Wednesday’s 15,278.