The JSE rose in broad-based gains on Wednesday, led by miners, as investors digested the implications of the budget policy statement.

The rand whipsawed during finance minister Tito Mboweni’s speech, ultimately recovering from earlier losses to trade flat at R14.0582/$ as the JSE closed.

Mboweni announced that the state’s budget deficit will widen more than expected, although analysts described the decision not to bail Eskom out — and rather offer it bridging loans — as a positive development.

Miners gave the local bourse most of its direction amid a series of corporate earnings reports, while the prices of some commodities continued their climb higher.

Palladium prices broke above $1,500/oz for the first time on Wednesday, while gold rose to a 10-month high.

The all share gained 0.9% to 55,691.6 points and the top 40 0.92%. Gold miners jumped 7.45% and platinums 2.74%. 

Shortly after the JSE closed, gold was up 0.28% at $1,345/oz while platinum had added 1.8% to $828.46. Brent crude was 0.21% lower at $66.28 a barrel.

The Dow was flat at 25,893.77 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had gained 0.56%, the CAC 40 0.49%, and the DAX 30 0.53%.

Local data was supportive. Inflation, as measured by the annual change in the consumer price index (CPI), moderated to 4% in January, better than the 4.3% Trading Economics consensus forecast.

“The somewhat surprising drop in the growth rate of inflation may beg the question if the interest-rate increase in the last quarter of 2018 was necessary,” said PPS Investments portfolio manager Luigi Marinus.

Globally, investors are closely watching US-China trade talks, currently underway in Washington.

Glencore added 2% to R56.20. It said earlier that earnings per share fell 41% to $0.24 in the year to end-December. The miner also announced plans to buy back $2bn worth of its own shares this year.

Sibanye-Stillwater fell 0.82% to R15.67. It said earlier that it expected to report a basic loss per share of R1.10 for the year to end-December, although this is 52% less than the prior comparative period. AngloGold Ashanti jumped 11.18% to R221.

Intu Properties slumped 11.27% to R19.52. It earlier reported it had swung into a loss in the year to end-December, partially due to adverse conditions in the UK retail market. Intu made a £1.17bn loss in 2018 compared with £227.2m profit in the prior comparative period.

EOH rose 12.73% to R16.47. It said earlier its former CEO Asher Bohbot had resigned as board chair to meet the corporate governance requirements of King IV code. The company’s share price has been battered by speculation of alleged dubious dealings with the state.


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