Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

The JSE edged higher on Friday, ending the week positively, as a weaker rand supported some miners and rand hedges.

The rand was slightly firmer as the JSE closed on Friday, but lost 3.67% against the dollar for the week. Load-shedding and concern about the pace of the government’s fiscal consolidation have weighed on the local currency.

The all share gained 0.19% to 54,628.4 points and the top 40 rose 0.2%. Platinum miners added 2.48% and resources 1.12%. Banks fell 0.55% and the property index 0.33%.

On Friday, a rising oil price also supported diversified miners, with Glencore adding 1.97% to R54.92, Anglo American 1.56% to R353.17 and BHP 1.08% to R324.27.

The gains in the oil price this week came after Saudi Arabia said it would cut production by more than expected in 2019.

Shortly after the JSE closed, Brent crude was up 1.3% to $65.46 a barrel. Platinum had gained 0.55% to $791.17/oz and gold 0.36% to $1,317.01.

The Dow had risen 1.02% to 25,701.83 point, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 was up 0.75%, the CAC 40 1.73% and the DAX 30 1.78%.

There were no local economic data releases, but sentiment took a hit during the week on disappointing mining, manufacturing, and retail sales data. Analysts warned that this could prompt a downgrade of SA's economic growth forecast for 2019.

All eyes will be on finance minister Tito Mboweni’s budget policy statement on Wednesday. The statement will be watched for signs of progress in the government’s promised fiscal consolidation.

Eskom’s mountain of debt continues to threaten SA’s sovereign credit status. On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that jobs would not be lost in any unbundling of the power utility, while assurances were also given on continued state ownership.

Gold Fields fell 0.17% to R52.48, after having earlier reported that its net loss for the year to end-December widened to $348m from the prior period's $19m. A six-week strike at the company’s South Deep mine weighed on performance.

African Rainbow Minerals fell 2.76% to R153.50, despite it saying it expected headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the six months to end-December to rise by between 8% and 15% compared to the same period in 2017. This was mostly due to a weaker rand.

Pioneer Food Group gained 1.47% to R81.25, after reporting that turnover grew 7.8% in the four months to end-January, compared to the same period in 2018.

Discovery fell 1.57% to R142.72, having said earlier that normalised HEPS for the six months to end December were expected to fall 16%, mainly due to increased expenditure on new ventures.

Comair surged 21.98% to R5.55 after saying it had reached a settlement with SAA over that company’s anticompetitive behaviour.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za