Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

Lower global markets and a hawkish tone from the South African Reserve Bank kept the JSE under pressure on Thursday, although general retailers managed to edge higher, due primarily to gains by Massmart.

Trade-war fears returned to the market on Thursday, as US President Donald Trump reiterated his threat of tariffs on European vehicle imports.

Locally, a spate of corporate news helped give the local bourse direction, with the key risk event, the Bank’s monetary policy committee (MPC) speech failing to give the rand significant direction.

The Bank kept interest rates on hold, but adopted a hawkish tone. Despite this, Capital Economics analysts said the Bank was still unlikely to raise rates in 2019 — something widely expected in the market. "The risks to our non-consensus view are, admittedly, growing," they said.

The all share rose 0.07% to 56,276.7 points and the top 40 0.06%. Platinums fell 2.07%, banks 0.7% and gold miners 0.82%. General retailers firmed 0.79%.

Diversified miner Glencore gained 1.29% to R55.64, while Anglo American lost 1.95% to R284.93.

Massmart leapt 7.98% to R115 after earlier saying that like-for-like sales in the six months to end-June grew 1.9%.

ArcelorMittal jumped 18.47% to R2.95, after earlier saying it expected headline earnings per share (HEPS) to rise as much as 106% for the six months to end-June.

Steinhoff International’s share price jumped 18.67% to R3.56 after the creditors representing about 90% of its debt consented to its three-year "lock-up agreement".

Dis-Chem rose 7.07% to R27.73, having earlier reported group sales growth of 11.1% for the four months to end-June.

Shortly after the JSE closed, the Dow had fallen 0.33%, while European markets were mixed. The DAX 30 had lost 0.66%, the CAC 40 0.59%, while the FTSE 100 had gained 0.21%.

At the same time, platinum had lost 1.96% to $801.89 an ounce and gold 0.86% to $1,216.88. Brent crude was 0.35% higher at $73.24 a barrel.

The top 40 Alsi futures index gained 0.18% to 50,310 points. The number of contracts traded was 18,881 from Wednesday’s 19,141.