REUTERS/Staff
REUTERS/Staff

A weaker dollar helped boost the JSE on Monday, ahead of what is likely to be a subdued, but risky, week.

The greenback was under pressure from dovish US Fed commentary, while issues of trade war and Brexit continue to furnish investors with reasons to be cautious.

Rand stability below R14/$ provided impetus for local banks and retail shares, which face the prospect of news of an interest-rate increase on Thursday. The Reserve Bank kept interest rates on hold at its September meeting, in a 4-3 decision.

Recent rand gains could be attributed to market expectations of an increase, although the market was hardly convinced of this outcome, and at best, this would be a very close call, said Mercato analysts.

With the week containing the US Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, analysts expect some element of quiet in the market.

The all share firmed 0.63% to 52,423.5 points and the top 40 0.74%. Banks gained 1.11%, platinum miners 3.73% and industrials 0.49%.

There was a flurry of company news on Monday, with Astral Foods slipping 5.73% to R185.64, despite earlier reporting revenue growth of 5% and an increase in headline earnings per share (HEPS) of 94% for the year to end-December.

Naspers rose 1.67% to R2,825, after saying earnings per share for the six months to end-September would be about triple those of the prior comparative period.

Barloworld slipped 0.81% to R114.96, despite upping its dividend 18% to R4.62 per share for the year to-end September, with the company also reporting a HEPS increase of 18%.

Netcare added 3.67% to R25.70, after reporting 5.3% growth in its final dividend for the period to end-September, with the company also declaring a special dividend of 40c.

Sibanye-Stillwater rose 3.25% to R9.54 after confirming that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) had served notice of a strike at its operations from Wednesday evening, due to failure to agree on a new wage deal.

Nampak lost 1.43% to R15.20, after it said it expected HEPS for continuing operations to fall by between 12% and 17% in the year to end-September.

Pioneer Food Group gained 1.02% to R78.29, after reporting 33% growth in HEPS, and 5% in net asset value per share, for the year to end-September.

Steinhoff International jumped 8.2% to R1.92, after saying bankruptcy protection for US-based Mattress Firm had been approved by authorities. It also said acting CEO Danie van der Merwe is set to be replaced by commercial director Louis du Preez.

Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow was down 0.67% to 25,329.88 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had gained 0.15%. The CAC 40 and DAX 30 were down 0.52% and 0.43%, respectively.

Gold was flat at $1,221.76 an ounce, while platinum was down 0.29% $842.96. Brent crude had fallen 2.51% to $65.30 a barrel.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za