Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE began the week by closing slightly lower on Monday, despite expectations equities would be back in favour due to easing geopolitical tension.

Astral Foods led the losses by points after a results statement was met unfavourably by the market, although volumes on the local bourse were muted. The JSE saw turnover of R9.9bn compared to the daily average of R20bn. The platinum index firmed the most, buoyed by a positive earnings report from beleaguered Lonmin.

Banks were lower as the rand oscillated, but risk-on sentiment was present on global markets, with a strong performance by Asian bourses earlier in the day. This followed signs from the White House that the current trade spat with China may end amicably.

Major European equity markets were lower, however, with some analysts pointing to uncertainty as Italian political parties continue coalition negotiations. Sentiment has been given a further boost by recent US and European data releases that have eased fears of faster-than-expected monetary policy normalisation.

While the rising dollar needs to be monitored, and financial conditions are tightening, it was not dramatic and there were no signs of a global recession, said Old Mutual Multi-Managers strategists Dave Mohr and Izak Odendaal. Inflation was rising cyclically due to a higher oil price and a low base, but there was also nothing that suggested a sustained move higher in global inflation rates that would cause 1970s style "stagflation" to gain hold.

The all share rose 0.33% to 58,614.5 points and the top 40 lifted 0.34%. Platinums firmed 2% and the property index 0.8%. General retailers shed 0.75%.

Embattled platinum producer Lonmin climbed 6.84% to R8.59, after earlier reporting that its interim loss per share fell to 19c in the six months to end-March, from 64.4c in the prior comparative period.

Sibanye-Stillwater, which is looking to acquire Lonmin, gained 5.63% to R9.38.

Vodacom slipped 2.57% to R152.96, despite earlier reporting a 6.3% rise in group revenue in the year to end-March, while a total final dividend of R8.15 was declared compared to the prior period’s R8.30.

Astral Foods plummeted 5% to R292.60, despite saying earlier that revenue for the six months to end-March climbed 15%, while operating profit rocketed from R212m to R1.044bn.

Paper and pulp producer Sappi added 3.52% to R83.50 despite earlier reporting a 10% decline in headline earnings per share to 30c in the six months to end-March.

At 5.30pm the Dow was up 0.58% to 24,974.15 points, while in Europe, the DAX 30 had fallen 0.15% and the FTSE 100 0.13%, while the CAC 40 was flat.

At the same time platinum had lost 0.79% to $916.92 an ounce, while gold had added 0.1% to $1,319.83 an ounce. Brent crude was 1.4% higher at R78.02 per barrel.

The top 40 Alsi futures index gained 0.1% to 52,300 points. The number of contracts traded was 13,039 from Friday’s 19,330.

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