JSE. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
JSE. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

The JSE closed marginally higher on Wednesday, with global markets mixed ahead of the Women’s Day public holiday, and with losses by local miners mostly offsetting gains in other indices.

Investor focus was torn between rising US-China trade tensions and upbeat US earnings reports, with the Dow lower shortly after the JSE closed.

Local data was light, with the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) business confidence index gaining one index point in July 2018 to 94.7, compared to 93.7 in June 2018. However, the BCI remained 0.6 index points below the 95.3 of July 2017.

"Although there are still major economic challenges facing SA, it appears the downward trend in the business climate since February 2018, has lost its momentum and confidence could turn more positive," Sacci said.

The all share firmed 0.14% to 57,485.6 points and the top 40 rose 0.07%. General retailers added 0.8% and banks 0.51%. Platinums fell 1.39%.

BHP fell 0.63% to R297.55, despite earlier announcing that the joint venture with Brazil’s Vale was expected to obtain all licences needed to resume operations, which were suspended after a deadly mud slide in 2015.

ArcelorMittal gave back 10.68% to R4.60, finally snapping a seven-session winning streak in which it rocketed 59%. This followed its interim results to end-June last week, when it reported a return to operational profitability.

MTN plummeted 8.11% to R104.85, after the group earlier slashed its interim dividend 30% to R1.75 for the six months to end-June. Revenue was down 3% to R63bn and its net profit declined 5% to R4.9bn during the period.

Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow was off 0.23% to 25,571.18 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had firmed 0.55%, while the CAC 40 had lost 0.41% and the DAX 30 0.28%.

At the same time, gold was flat at $1,210.43 an ounce while platinum had lost 0.27% to $828.15. Brent crude was 2.4% lower at $72.69 a barrel.