Picture: MICHAEL BRATT
Picture: MICHAEL BRATT

Diversified miners and rand hedges kept the JSE in positive territory on Thursday morning, after the rand weakened above the psychologically important R14/$ handle for the first time in six weeks.

Disappointing local economic data and Eskom’s problems continue to weigh on sentiment, with analysts saying they expect investors to remain cautious ahead of next week’s budget policy statement.

At 10am, the all share was up a marginal 0.12% to 54,611.1 points and the top 40 had added 0.11%. Gold miners were up 1.73%, platinums 1.39% and industrials 0.2%. Banks had lost 1.09%, food and drug retailers 0.9%, and general retailers 0.64%.

Gold was up 0.24% to $1,309.40/oz and platinum 0.25% to $787.87.

Brent crude was 1.04% higher at $64.34 a barrel.

Commodity prices are finding support from strong Chinese economic data, as well as the start of two days of trade talks between US and Chinese officials. China’s exports unexpectedly surged 9.1% in January, reversing a 4.4% decline seen in November, reported Dow Jones Newswires.

Oil has risen due to reports that Saudi Arabia intends to cut production more than expected in 2019, something that lifted the JSE’s larger diversified miners about 3% on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, Glencore was up 1.03% to $54.09 and BHP 1.18% to R319.99.

South 32 gained 2.85% to R37.92, having said earlier that headline earnings per share (HEPS) in the six months to end-December grew 12.5% compared with the same period in 2017.

Rand hedge Richemont was up 1.05% to R102.01 and British American Tobacco 0.98% to R511.20.

Sibanye-Stillwater was up 5.89% to R15.27.

Absa lost 2.71% to R179.50.

Naspers gained 0.54% to R3,026.39.

Lighthouse Capital — formerly known as Greenbay — was up 0.15% to R6.90. It reported earlier that it has swung into a headline loss of 7.76 euro cents per share in the three months to end-December, from earnings per share of 4.52 euro cents in the prior comparative period.

Curro gave back 2.29% to R26.50. It had surged 9.35% on Wednesday after reporting 25% growth in HEPS for the year to end-December. It also declared a maiden dividend of 12c per share.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za