Firmer dollar takes toll on the JSE
A combination of a weaker rand and softer commodity prices is weighing on the local bourse, with banks and retailers faring worst
The JSE weakened in broad-based losses on Thursday morning, amid risk-off sentiment on international markets.
Global markets have traded cautiously this week due to mixed US corporate earnings reports, as well as continued concerns over the US-China trade war, Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking analysts said.
The dollar, which is considered a safe-haven currency, has firmed this week. Market activity has been subdued by the closure of many Asian markets for the lunar new year.
At 10am the all share was down 0.69% at 54,196.9 points and the top 40 was down 0.76%. Food and drug retailers were down 1.47%, gold miners 1.27%, banks 1.26% and general retailers 1.07%.
Risk events on Thursday come in the form of a Bank of England (BoE) monetary policy decision at 2pm, as well as President Cyril Ramaphosa's state of the nation address at 7pm.
The BoE is widely expected to reduce its economic growth forecasts, as the UK continues to grapple with the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal. UK Prime Minister Theresa May is also heading to Brussels on Thursday, in a bid to negotiate Brexit concessions required to placate parliament.
Gold was down 0.14% to $1,304.45/oz and platinum 0.22% to $803.78. Brent crude was 0.66% lower at $62.17 a barrel.
Sasol fell 1.68% to R416.52.
ArcelorMittal was up 9.91% to R3.77, having earlier reported revenue growth of 16% in the year to end-December. The company reported a headline profit of R968m for the period, compared to the prior period's R2.518bn loss.
Clicks was down 4.02% at R185.99.
Naspers had given up 1.03% to R3,059.83.