The JSE closed the shortened session on a one-month high on Monday, in thin trading. Picture: JSE
The JSE closed the shortened session on a one-month high on Monday, in thin trading. Picture: JSE

The JSE rallied to a one-month high on Monday, rounding off a generally bad year for stocks on a high note.

The all share ended the shortened session 0.56% higher at 52,736.90 points, with the top 40 gaining 0.50%, though trading volumes were light due to holidays.

Resource stocks were well supported amid a broad recovery in commodity prices, notably Brent crude, which was up 2.31% to $54.28 a barrel.

Banks and insurance stocks were generally positive, as were food producers, though the recovery in both sectors comes off a very low base.

Fresh catalysts were few and far between, though a message by US President Donald Trump on twitter on Saturday boded well for risk markets. He signalled that trade talks between the US and China were moving in the right direction.

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

The all share officially logged its worst annual performance in a decade, with a loss of 11% in share prices, according to Iress data. Other global equities had a similarly rough ride in 2018, hurt in part by perceptions of slowing global growth.

The rand held broadly steady with a slightly stronger bias, at R14.37 to the dollar, up 0.39% on the day.

Local bonds also did well on the day, and they outperformed the all share and listed property for the year as a whole.

Diversified miner Exxaro Resources gained 3.3% to  R137.87, Assore 4.05% to R290 and African Rainbow Minerals 2.82% to R142.35.

Absa Group was up 1.62% to R161.82, Quilter 2.48% to R21.92 and Discovery 1.46% to R159.79.

Tiger Brands regained 1.97% to R273.78 and Tongaat Hulett 196% to R55.79.

The Spar Group rose 2.47% to R207.50 and Pepkor 2.99% to R20.99.

Mediclinic International rose 3.05% to R60.13 and Life Healthcare 2.88% to R26.40.

Mondi plc rose 2.02% to R304.07 and Sappi 2.22% to R81.65