Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE pushed higher on Wednesday, recording broad-based gains, cheered by positive developments in the US-China trade talks.

The rand found some support after confirmation the Chinese had agreed to resume soyabean imports, and drop tariffs on vehicles from the US. This has improved the prospects of the US and China striking a deal, analysts said, although the three-month truce was somewhat short given the scale of the issues on the table.

The all share firmed 0.8% to 51,598.1 points and the top 40 rose 0.82%. Banks gained 1.91%, platinums 1.97%, gold miners 2.47% and food and drug retailers 1.81%. Property stocks gave up 0.21%.

Risk-events continue to hover over the markets, however, with investors closely watching the no-confidence vote in UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who is fighting to unite her party behind a draft Brexit agreement.

The rand was firmer against the dollar, extending gains slightly in the afternoon after US consumer inflation came in much lower than expected. Concern about a slowdown in the US economy has prompted doubt among investors that the US Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in 2019 as much as it has intimated.

Local data was slightly mixed. Consumer inflation climbed to 5.2% in November, slightly ahead of the Trading Economics consensus forecast of 5.1%. Retail sales data was positive, growing 2.2% year on year in November, ahead of a forecast of 1.8%.

The retail sales figures indicated a robust start to the fourth quarter of the year, but the inflation figures pointed to another interest-rate increase in the first quarter of 2019, said Capital Economics senior emerging-markets economist John Ashbourne.

Diversified miner BHP added 1.94% to R288, while Anglo American fell 0.63% to R295.66.

Rand hedge AB InBev fell 1.23% to R1,017.23, British American Tobacco 0.73% to R492.57 and Richemont 0.72% to R92.53.

Gold Fields jumped 5.63% to R45.05. Earlier, the National Union of Mineworkers called off a six-week strike at the company's South Deep mine.

Standard Bank gained 2.73% to R171.69, FirstRand 1.87% to R65.81 and Absa 1.28% to R156.42.

Shoprite rose 3.44% to R187.53.

Naspers added 0.21% to R2,857.15. Tencent’s subsidiary, Tencent Music, started trading as a separately listed company on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Telkom jumped 5.73% to R61.26, although MTN was flat, amid news that a Nigerian court had postponed a hearing into its alleged breach of that country's financial regulations until January.

Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow was up 1.07% to 24,626.04 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had risen 1.09%, the CAC 40 2.14% and the DAX 30 1.37%.

At the same time, gold was up 0.19% at $1,245.21 an ounce and platinum 0.82% to $793.67. Brent crude was 0.42% higher at $60.83 a barrel.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za