Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The JSE stabilised on Thursday morning, a day after suffering its biggest one-day drop in more than four months, marking a rocky start to 2019.

The all share index recovered 0.46% to 51,502.40 points, amid signs of bargain-hunting, although investors generally still lacked conviction.

Banks and insurance stocks were moderately higher, as were big industrial stocks, such as Naspers, which had fallen sharply on Wednesday.

Gold miners stood out though, helped by the relatively weaker rand and a gold price that was its highest level since June 2018, at $1,289/oz.

Equity markets continue to be very edgy amid mounting concern over slowing global economy. 

“The first proper trading session in 2019 proved brutal for already-bruised investors as global stocks plunged across the board and a rebound in the US dollar reignited selling pressure on the EM [emerging market] currencies,” said Piotr Matys, UK-based analyst at Rabobank International in a note to clients.

“The catalyst for renewed risk aversion was China’s weak manufacturing PMI [purchasing managers index], which reminded market participants that the second-largest economy is struggling to cope with the ongoing trade war between the US and China.”

Asian stocks were off their lows in late Asian trade, while Japan’s markets were closed for a holiday.

AngloGold Ashanti rose 2.49% to R186.90, Gold Fields 1.73% to R50.61 and Harmony 2.75% to R27.23.

Platinum shares also picked up, thanks to a slightly higher platinum price, which came as the dollar softened. Anglo American Platinum was up 2.02% to R538.52 and Impala Platinum 3.32% to R37.35

mahlangua@businesslive.co.za