After a weak opening, the JSE pared some of its losses in late afternoon trade on Monday, as Naspers turned around and miners gained on a weaker dollar and higher Brent crude price.

Trade was characterised by wild swings during the day, while volumes were below average, reaching R15bn by the close. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

Emerging-market currencies and the euro gained after US President Donald Trump appeared to have backed down on an immediate implementation of higher tariffs against China, instead saying the "tariffs had put the US in a very strong bargaining position" in negotiations between the two countries.

Concern about trade relations between the US and China still weighed on global stocks following Trump’s earlier threats to slap another round of tariffs on $200bn of Chinese imports to the US. Chinese officials said if Trump carried out his plans this week, further talks could be scuttled.

After trading nearly 3% lower in the morning, Naspers ended the day 0.68% higher, at R3,206.42. The group intends unbundling its video entertainment interests in MultiChoice and listing them separately on the JSE.

This raised hope among shareholders that it could be the precursor to further splits within the top-heavy group, including the possible unbundling of its money-spinning interest in Chinese internet and gaming group Tencent. However, Naspers reiterated that it would retain its primary listing on the JSE as well as its interests in Media24.

The rand touched R14.8659 to the dollar as the euro firmed to just below $1.17.

The all share closed 0.5% lower at 56,298.70 points and the top 40 lost 0.48%. Banks shed 2.15%, food and drug retailers 2.32%, general retailers 1.48% and financials 1.46%. The gold index added 2.33%, platinums 0.62% and resources 0.37%.

Investec was 2.5% lower at R100.72, after announcing the separate listing of Investec Asset Management last week.

Sasfin lost 0.84% to R33 after earlier reporting headline earnings were down 37.08% for the year to end-June.

Texton Property Fund gained 0.72% to R5.57. CEO Nosiphiwo Balfour announced her resignation on Friday.

Rhodes Food tumbled 10.43% to R16.48. Management said earlier it expected headline earnings for the year to end-September to be between 28% and 38% lower.

Aspen Pharmacare recovered 0.9% to R192.55. It slumped 30% last week after announcing the sale of its infant-formula business to a French dairy company at a lower price than the market expected.