Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The JSE pushed higher in broad-based gains on Friday morning, with banks and retailers faring best, as risk-on trade continued to fuel an interest in equities.

Dovish comments from US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell overnight, as well as news of high-level talks between the US and China later in January, bolstered sentiment.

Analysts have noted that the performance of equities this week, even considering some bearish news, pointed to a return of some  normality to markets, which had been rattled by geopolitical events throughout 2018.

Although sentiment has improved, investors would be looking for concrete US-China trade developments, and a rally could stall quickly in the absence of this, said London Capital Group analyst Jasper Lawler.

At 10am the all share was up 0.79% at 53,694.1 points and the top 40 0.89%. Banks were up 1.16% and general retailers 0.74%.

At the same time gold was up 0.56% at $1,293.54 an ounce and platinum 0.38% at $824.27 an ounce. Brent crude was 0.93% higher at $61.85 a barrel.

Focus on Friday will be US inflation data, due at 3pm. The ongoing US government shutdown, as well as a looming Brexit vote in the UK parliament next week, are also on traders’ radars.

Diversified miner Glencore added 1.1% to R52.25.

Sasol firmed 1.1% to R448.82.

Rand hedge Richemont rose 1.25% to R94.68, having said earlier that sales in its third quarter to end-December rose 24% compared with the prior period, at a constant exchange rate.

AB InBev gained 1.24% to R980.

Sibanye-Stillwater slipped 2.1% to R10.74 and Harmony 2.89% to R26.20.

Standard Bank gained 1.66% to R186.80 and Absa 1.41% to R169.82.

Mr Price lifted 1.95% to R256.36.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za