Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The JSE all gained in choppy trade on Thursday, after the rand firmed 2% against the dollar.

After a positive opening, the market dipped during the course of the day as global miners retreated in mixed trade on the stronger rand and a lower Brent crude price. Brent crude fell 1.7% to $78.27 a barrel on indications that Hurricane Florence in the US was likely to be less severe than initially thought.

Platinums ended the day higher after the platinum price rose 0.85% to $803.28 an ounce.

Naspers rose despite the stronger rand, closing 3.31% higher at R3,155.

The decision by the Turkish central bank to hike interest rates by 625 basis points to 24% supported emerging-market currencies, with the rand reaching R14.6196 on the day, its best level in two weeks. But analysts questioned the conviction of the rally.

Present levels of the rand do not really encourage risk-on trade, as it still remains a weak currency with questions around long-term sustainability, said Umkhulu Consulting analyst Adam Phillips. "The rand is still at good levels for exporters."

The stronger rand supported banks and financials measurably toward the close.

Earlier optimism on trade talks between China and the US dimmed in later trade after US President Donald Trump indicated in a tweet that the US will still adopt a hardline approach toward China.

The Bank of England (BOE) left interest rates unchanged at 0.75%, but warned that uncertainty over Brexit was creating problems for companies. The European Central Bank (ECB) also kept rates unchanged, saying that it was still on track to end its quantitative easing programme at the end of 2018.

The euro gained on soft inflation data out of the US, with consumer inflation in August coming in at 2.7%, lower than the previous month’s 2.9% and an expected 2.8%. This reduces the likelihood of a more aggressive stance by the US Federal Reserve on interest rates.

The all share ended the day 0.38% higher at 56,166.90 points and the top 40 gained 0.35%. Platinums rose 1.96%, general retailers 1.54%, industrials 0.62%, banks 0.50% and food and drug retailers 0.51%. Property dipped 0.48% and resources 0.14%.

BHP slipped 0.44% to R293.70.

British American Tobacco dropped 2.62% to R717.49 and Richemont 1.5% to R123.80.

Impala Platinum rose 5.38% to R17.63. It said earlier that annual profits improved to R1.6bn but earnings were affected by impairments of R13.6bn, mainly due to the restructuring of Impala Rustenburg.

Among banks, FirstRand rose 1.02% to R67.08 but Absa lost 1.38% to R147.63.

Mr Price lifted 1.82% to R214.83 and Woolworths 1.53% to R51.78.

Nepi Rockcastle was 0.19% lower at R137.99. It earlier announced a 100% acquisition of the Mammut shopping centre in Budapest, Hungary.

Aspen plummeted 14.84% to R232.06. It earlier reported revenue was up 3% to R42.6bn and normalised headline earnings per share (HEPS) increased by 10% in the year to end-June. Lower earnings in the second half of the year were primarily influenced by the unfavourable effect of the strengthening in the rand, the group said.

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