MARKET WRAP: JSE flat as gold miners offset other gains
Gold miners are under pressure after disappointing local mining data, while global market focus is on the Brexit vote later in the evening
The JSE was little changed on Tuesday, with most indices edging higher, while some miners come under strain due to disappointing local data.
Domestic mining production contracted 5.6% year on year in November, with a Bloomberg consensus expecting only a 0.1% decline. Iron ore and gold miners were responsible for for 2.5 percentage points and 1.9 percentage points of this decline, respectively.
Earlier, the bourse was a little higher, lifted by news from Asia. Chinese government officials announced plans to boost the country's slowing economy, including tax cuts and an increase in spending.
Data from Germany later, however, showed that the economy grew at its slowest pace in five years at 1.5%, adding to fear that the global economy is slowing.
The all share rose 0.09% to 53,533.5 points, while the top 40 lifted 0.1%.
Property added 1.33%, financials 0.46% and banks 0.37%. Gold miners lost 2.27% and the resources index 0.4%.
Risk events continue, with all eyes on UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts to get her draft Brexit deal past MPs. May is widely expected to be defeated in a vote scheduled to start at 9pm South African time. The result of the vote may trigger big moves in the pound, analysts said.
“The base-case scenario is that there is high expectation of the bill being rejected by UK MPs, but the vote count will serve as guidance on what happens next,” FXTM chief market strategist Hussein Sayed said.
Exxaro rose 3.8% to R149.65 and Assore 2.54% to R307.65.
Sibanye-Stillwater slumped 4.9% to R9.90. Earlier it confirmed it had received notice that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) intended to go on a secondary strike at its platinum operations from next Tuesday. Amcu has been on strike at the company’s gold operations since November 21.
Hyprop Investments gained 2.87% to R87.95, Growthpoint 2.11% to R24.16 and Redefine 1.54% to R9.86.
Aspen Pharmacare gained 4.38% to R146.13.
Ascendis Health lost 3.87% to R5.96. It rocketed 12.52% to R6.50 on Monday, after it reported that a buyer had expressed interest in its Cyprus-based Remedica unit, which it acquired two years ago for €335m.
Vodacom gave up 1.49% to R131.71.
Brait recovered 5.08% to R26.27. It plunged 21.48% on Monday after saying it would cut its shareholding in New Look to between 18% and 30% by issuing shares to creditors.
Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow was up 0.22% at 23,963.56 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had given up 0.4%, the CAC 40 0.25% and the DAX 30 0.1%.
At the same time, gold was up 0.17% at $1,293.80/oz while platinum had fallen 0.17% to $803.10. Brent crude was 1.56% higher at $60.24 a barrel.