The JSE. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
The JSE. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

The JSE started the week on a negative note as banks and retailers retreated in risk-off trade, with platinum stocks losing out on lower metal prices.

Banks came under pressure following lacklustre interim results from Absa, raising concern that other banks would struggle to report strong growth for the present reporting season, with the exception of Nedbank, which comes off a lower base.

The all share was under pressure for most of the day as the market sought direction amid flat European markets, following worse-than-expected manufacturing data from Germany.

European stock markets struggled for direction, as traders digested another round of earnings reports and a flare-up in trade tension between the US and China, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

In the UK, investors weighed up the latest Brexit developments after the country’s trade secretary said there is a real risk Britain will leave the EU without a deal on trade, the newswires said.

The dollar firmed against the euro, which regained some composure towards the JSE’s close, paring rand losses. The local currency was last trading at R13.3875 to the dollar from R13.3346, while the Turkish lira lost a further 2% against the greenback on the day.

Brent crude jumped more than 1% to $74, but gold and platinum prices remained in the red.

The all share closed 0.45% lower at 56,861.20 points and the top 40 lost 0.4%. Banks fell 2.09%, platinums 2.01%, financials 1.2%, the gold index 1.17%, food and drug retailers 1.07% and general retailers 0.82%.

Naspers ended the day 0.43% higher at R3,250.

Absa lost 2.98% to R166.16 after reporting that interim headline earnings rose 3% to R8bn.

Mr Price dropped 1.85% to R224.86 and Massmart 1.58% to R113.

Sappi lost 1.94% to R95.90.

The dollar has been firmer since Friday, despite nonfarm jobs data out of the US coming in lower than expected. The US Federal Reserve is still set to raise interest rates twice more in 2018, analysts say.

The euro was at $1.1559 from $1.157 at the JSE’s close. The pound fell to its lowest in 11 months against the dollar on the day, at $1.2946.

Local bonds were weaker with the R186 bid at 8.72% from 8.685%, while the US 10-year treasury was last seen at 2.926% from 2.9492%.

The top 40 Alsi futures index lost 0.64% to 50,567 points. The number of contracts traded was 15,045 from Friday’s 15,792.