Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

The JSE firmed on Monday, boosted by a strong showing from Naspers.

The market heavyweight gained 1.34% to R3,030.01 , tracking a rise in Hong Kong-listed Tencent, in which it is the largest single shareholder. Tencent’s share price rose to a four-month high as Asian markets reopened after last week's Lunar New Year holiday.

The all share gained 0.31% to 53,409.1 points and the top 40 0.47%. Industrials gained 0.8% and the resources index 0.41%. Platinums gave up 0.93% and general retailers 0.52%.

Global sentiment was shaky, with markets eyeing US-China trade talks this week. US President Donald Trump is not expected to meet his Chinese counterpart before the March 1 deadline.

Locally, Eskom instituted load-shedding, while the future of the entity continues to be in doubt.

Earlier, ratings agency Moody's warned that that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address (Sona) last week “offered few concrete measures to overcome these structural challenges in the face of entrenched vested interests”.

The agency warned that vested interests could hobble the government's attempts to restructure state-owned entities. It also said that simply splitting up Eskom was not a solution to the utility’s finances.

The warning comes ahead of the budget policy statement next week, which could decide SA’s fate with the credit-rating agency and indicate how far the government has come in delivering on its promises of fiscal consolidation.

A series of domestic data releases are also due this week, with mining, manufacturing and retail sales data for December expected.

Sasol fell 0.4% to R382.24. It slumped 6.5% on Friday after it reported further delays in its US-based Louisiana investment, as well as rising costs.

Diversified miner BHP gained 1.11% to R304.27, while Glencore fell 1.46% to R51.31.

Rand hedge AB InBev gained 1.64% to R1,050.

Woolworths slipped 3.29% to R45.80. Earlier, it announced the departure of two nonexecutive directors from its board. This follows the resignation last week of David Jones CEO David Thomas.

Harmony Gold fell 1.78% to R29.27, ahead of the release of its interim results to end-December on Tuesday. Last week the miner warned that headline earnings per share (HEPS) would fall by between 83% and 97% compared to the prior period.

Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow was up 0.19% to 25,151.69 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had added 0.72%, the CAC 40 was up 1% and the DAX 30 has risen 0.79%.

At the same time, gold was down 0.64% at $1,306.14/oz and platinum 1.35% to $788.58. Brent crude had lost 1.19% to $61.32 a barrel.

Oil has come under pressure in recent weeks from fears of a cooling global economy and record US production. Oil-cartel Opec is set to release its monthly production report on Tuesday, and this will be closely watched as January is the first month where agreed production cuts are meant to take effect, reported Dow Jones Newswires.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za