The JSE. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
The JSE. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

The JSE tracked lower global equity markets on Monday, with platinum miners and industrials faring worst, as investors digested yet more gloomy Chinese economic data.

Sharply lower-than-expected Chinese export growth in December took the wind out of investors’ sails, with exports contracting 4.4% year on year in that month. The market had expected growth of 3%.

The all share fell 0.31% to 53,485.6 points, while the top 40 lost 0.33%. Food and drug retailers added 0.45% and banks 0.2%. Platinums fell 1.28% and general retailers 1.39%.

A litany of risk remains this week, with markets digesting a ramping up of local political rhetoric ahead of the elections, as well as the Reserve Bank interest-rate announcement on Thursday.

Internationally, Brexit should steal the focus on Tuesday, when UK Prime Minister Theresa May faces down her parliamentary opposition in a bid to proceed with a draft Brexit deal.

The US government shutdown is also posing some risk, having become that country’s longest ever over the weekend.

Thanks to the closure “only” hitting around 25% of the government, this shutdown has yet to have an impact on stock markets, said Vestact analysts. But as the stalemate between US politicians drags on, there will be ripple effects throughout the economy.

Local politics is slowly becoming increasingly prominent as well, as SA gears up for a general election in May. ANC politics will be scrutinised ahead of upcoming reviews by ratings agencies, with Moody’s saying earlier that investor sentiment remained under pressure from a lack of clarity on issues such as land expropriation without compensation.

“While recent changes in SA’s political landscape have lowered the risk of a further erosion of institutional strength, deep-rooted social and political divisions continue to hamper reform efforts there,” the Moody’s report read.

MC Mining, formerly Coal of Africa,  jumped 8.09% to R13.50, having earlier announced it had acquired two key pieces of land required to proceed with its flagship Makhado coal project.

Brait plunged 21.48% to R25, after saying earlier it would cut its shareholding in New Look to between 18% and 30% by issuing shares to creditors.

Ascendis Health rocketed 12.52% to R6.50, after it reported that a buyer had expressed interest in its Cyprus-based Remedica unit, which it acquired two years ago for €335m.

Clicks added 4.15% to R198.80.

Truworths slumped 5.18% to R87.23.

Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow was down 0.58% at 23,857.35 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had given up 0.82%, the CAC 40 0.51% and the DAX 30 0.41%.

At the same time, gold was up 0.38% at $1,292.03 an ounce while platinum had fallen 0.27% to $808.24. Brent crude was 0.47% lower at $60.31 a barrel.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za