JSE. Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
JSE. Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE opened in firmer territory on Monday as Naspers led the gainers, with banks and retailers shrugging of a weaker rand.

Naspers opened stronger after Chinese internet company Tencent rose nearly 4% in Hong Kong as the company rebounded from last week’s retreat following disappointing second-quarter earnings.

Naspers owns 31.2% of Tencent and was up 2.99% to R3,275.

Sentiment was upbeat after a higher closing by the Dow on Friday, with Chinese markets also firming, but the Nikkei 225 was lower on weaker tech stocks.

Indications are that planned meetings between Beijing and Washington may ease the trade tension between the US and China. Chinese and US negotiators are mapping out talks to try to end their trade standoff ahead of planned meetings between President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at multilateral summits in November, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

Scheduled mid-level talks in Washington this week, which both sides announced on Thursday, will pave the way for November, the newswires said.

The rand remained under pressure from a weaker lira after S&P and Moody’s on Friday downgraded Turkey one notch further below investment grade, citing the recent extreme economic and financial volatility along with increasing tensions with the US.

The downgrades, and Moody’s warning that a further cut could follow, come as the US administration threatens new penalties against the country over its detention of an American pastor.

Brent crude was stable at $71.79 a barrel and gold and platinum prices were marginally higher.

At 9.32am the all share was 1.22% up at 57,339.10 points and the top 40 rose 1.37%. General retailers rose 1.56%, banks 1.49%, industrials 1.46%, the gold index 1.16%, food and drug retailers 1.06%, resources 1.02% and financials 0.99%.

Early morning market focus was on Sasol, which released annual results to end-June. Headline earnings per share (HEPS) dropped 22% to R27,44 in the period.

"Sasol delivered a resilient set of results, underpinned by satisfactory sales and production volumes," the company said. Sasol was down 1.8% to R518.98.

AngloGold Ashanti rose 1.67% to R109.50. The group said it had a strong first half, raising production from retained operations by 4% year on year.

Among banks, Standard Bank rose 1.6% to R186.71 and FirstRand 1.52% to R63.93.

Asset manager Sygnia was down 3.69% to R9.40.

Steinhoff plummeted 7.26% to R2.17. On Friday, the group gave further details on its restructuring plans, which initially caused a spike in the share price. The company will meet creditors in the coming weeks, it said.

Shoprite rose 1.01% to R212.88.

Property group Rebosis dropped 3% to R7.44 after warning the market that interim ordinary B-share dividend growth was set to drop between 20% and 25%.

Resilient was 0.52% lower at R57.60. On Friday, the group declared a lower annual dividend, which it ascribed to the effect of the distribution of the Fortress B shares to Resilient’s shareholders. However, it is predicting higher dividend growth in the next financial year.

Netcare rose 1.96% to R27.57 and Life Healthcare 1.94% to R24.21.