JSE looks likely to narrow its loss for 2018 slightly on the last trading day of the year when it closes at noon. Picture: MICHAEL BRATT
JSE looks likely to narrow its loss for 2018 slightly on the last trading day of the year when it closes at noon. Picture: MICHAEL BRATT

The JSE traded moderately higher on Monday morning, marking the final stretch of what has been a bruising year for share markets.

The all share was up 0.33% to 52,618 points, near its best level in a month, though trading volumes were very light ahead of a New Year’s Day break.

Fresh catalysts were few and far between, though US President Donald Trump’s twitter message at the weekend boded well for risk markets.

Trump signalled on Saturday that trade talks between the US and China were moving in the right direction.

“Just had a long and very good call with President Xi [Jinping] of China. Deal is moving along very well. If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas and points of dispute. Big progress being made!” Trump tweeted.

The two largest economies had earlier in December set a 90-day timeline within which to find a common ground to resolve the trade impasse, which has held risk assets hostage for months.

The all share was on track for its worst annual performance since 2008, in line with other global equity benchmarks.

The rand held steady against the dollar at R14.40 to the dollar, but was on course for its worst annual performance since 2015, according to the Iress data.

The value of the rand was down 16% against the dollar in 2018, the Iress data show. Local bonds were steady on the day, with the yield on the benchmark R186 bond fetching 8.88%.

mahlangua@businesslive.co.za