Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE closed flat on Thursday in volatile trade as the market sought direction on the future path of global monetary policy.

Platinum and gold stocks gained on higher metal prices, while Brent crude fell 0.6% to $76 a barrel.

The European Central Bank (ECB) earlier kept rates unchanged as expected, but the euro weakened significantly on the day after the bank expressed a cautious view on when interest rates will eventually rise. It cited summer 2019 as most likely, disappointing hawks in the market who expected it to happen sooner.

The US Federal Reserve increased interest rates on Wednesday, also as expected. After an initial subdued reaction from the dollar, it recorded strong gains later in the day, firming 1.26% on the euro, which fell to $1.1646, from $1.7973, after the JSE’s close.

After earlier gaining nearly 2% against the dollar, the rand ended Thursday flat at R13.3019.

Naspers ended the day 1.71% lower at R3,335, despite issuing a trading update on Wednesday reflecting strong earnings growth for the year to end-March.

Banks, retailers and property stocks were up in thin-volume trade, at about R15bn, while industrials ended lower.

The all share closed 0.1% higher at 58,495.70 points and the top 40 lost 0.04%. The platinum index rose 3.08%, gold 1.83%, general retailers 1.67%, food and drug retailers 1.62%, banks 1.51%, and financials 0.94%. Industrials slipped 0.27%.

Kumba Iron Ore closed 1.44% lower at R299.12.

British American Tobacco gained 0.77% to R662.

Gold Fields rose 2% to R49.48 and Sibanye-Stillwater 1.53% to R8.60.

FirstRand jumped 3.47% to R63.22 and Barclays Africa 1.82% to R165.68.

Growthpoint rose 1.42% to R27.19 and Redefine 1.79% to R10.81.

Vodacom gained 0.73% to R138.50 and MTN 0.36% to R113.

Mondi Ltd dropped 0.85% to R368.51.

The rand was at R13.2876 to the dollar at the JSE’s close and R15.4789 to the euro, from R15.6855.

The benchmark R186 government bond was bid at 8.96% from 8.98%, while the US 10-year treasury little changed at 2.952%.

The top 40 Alsi futures index lost 0.07% to 52,378 points. The number of contracts traded was 35,262 from Wednesday’s 29,336.