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

The JSE continued its slide in global risk-off trade on Wednesday, with market focus remaining on the possible imposition of further US tariffs on China.

Rand weakness continued, putting pressure on banks and retailers, while platinum stocks rose sharply.

The rand reached an intraday worst of R15.697 to the dollar, from Tuesday’s close of R15.3483. This week has seen it trading at two-year lows. At the JSE’s close it was at R15.4374.

Global markets in general were under pressure, as investors waited for news on the future of US trade relations. US negotiations with Canada over the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) continued on Wednesday, while it is widely expected the White House will impose 25% tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese imports on Thursday.

Local economic news was downbeat. The Standard Bank whole-economy purchasing managers index (PMI), released earlier, showed that business conditions deteriorated further in August, with the index dropping to 47.2 points, from 49.3 in July. This represented a 29-month low.

The all share fell 1.36% to 57,102.1 points and the top 40 dropped 1.66%. Banks fell 2.85%, general retailers 2.07% and industrials 1.75%. Platinums firmed 3.77% and gold miners 1.13%.

Trading ex-dividend, diversified miner BHP fell 2.21% to R313.23.

Rand hedge British American Tobacco gained 1.03% to R740.

DRDGold fell 0.64% to R3.10, despite reporting earlier that operating profit for the year to end-June rose 38% to R355m from the previous year, with revenue up 6% to R2.49bn.

Sibanye-Stillwater jumped 8.36% to R9.85 and Harmony 7.57% to R26.87.

Nedbank slumped 5.01% to R255.04, FirstRand 3.33% to R64.82 and Standard Bank 3.06% to R174.

Mr Price fell 2.95% to R208.65 and TFG 2.92% to R162.35.

MTN recovered 2.78% to R74, having posted sharp losses in recent sessions on news it was in the cross-hairs of Nigerian authorities. MTN’s unit in Ghana began trading on that country’s stock exchange on Wednesday.

Naspers fell 4.02%% to R3,055.60.

Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow was flat at 25,952.48 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had fallen 1.21%, the CAC 40 1.27% and the DAX 30 1.16%.

At the same time, platinum had risen 0.74% to $784.60 an ounce and gold 0.48% to $1,197.23. Brent crude had fallen 0.3% to $77.54 a barrel.

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