Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The JSE edged  lower on Thursday morning, largely as a result of losses from market heavyweight Naspers, although banks and retailers found support from dovish US Federal Reserve minutes.

The Fed minutes released overnight showed caution among policymakers due to uncertainty over global growth, with interest-rate sensitive stocks and gold miners seemingly welcoming this stance from the world’s most-influential central bank.

Gold is seen as a hedge against loose monetary policy, while fewer Fed interest rate increases reduce the likelihood the Reserve Bank will raise rates locally.

At 10.06am the all share was 0.22% lower at 53,105.1 points and the top 40 was down 0.38%. Industrials gave up 0.39%. Gold miners added 2.37% and general retailers 1.02%.

At the same time, gold was up 0.21% at $1,295.85/oz and platinum up 0.17% to $826.07/oz. Brent crude was 0.93% weaker at $60.77 a barrel.

Diversified miner Glencore gave up 1.69% to R51.82 and Anglo American 1.14% to R317.70. Trading ex-dividend, BHP extended Wednesday’s 4.13% loss, giving up a further 0.92% to R286.34.

Naspers was the main drag on the local bourse, falling 1.27% to R2,93527.

Asian markets were under pressure after disappointing Chinese data, with factory-gate inflation in that country growing at an annualised 0.9% in December — the slowest pace in two years.

Rand hedge Richemont was 1.41% lower at R92.54.

Sibanye-Stillwater rose 3.94% to R11.07, having said in a strategic update earlier that gold production for 2018 was expected to be only marginally lower than expected, as contingency measures to deal with industrial action at its operations were paying off.

Ascendis added 5.58% to R5.30.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za