Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

The JSE reversed Thursday’s losses on Friday on positive developments in the US and China’s trade talks.

Markets are cautiously optimistic as President Donald Trump is set to meet a Chinese trade negotiator in Washington on Friday, with a looming March 1 deadline to avoid a further escalation in tariffs on Chinese goods imported into the US.

The all share rose 0.92% to 55,993 points and the top 40 was up 1.08%. General retailers had a good day, rising 2.97%, while financial services gained 0.42%. Gold miners lost 1.92%, while banks were flat.

The rand remained below R14/$, firming 0.3% on the day to R13.98.

Locally this week, the 2019 budget painted a grim picture of SA’s finances, as finance minister Tito Mboweni announced a massive cash injection for Eskom, which received mixed reactions from the credit-ratings agencies on Thursday.

Next week, local data is likely to show a seasonal deficit in the trade balance for January and a neutral Absa purchasing managers index, which gauges activity in the manufacturing sector, on slowing momentum in the global trade cycle, and weak domestic demand. Producer inflation is likely to moderate in line with consumer inflation.

Tongaat Hulett experienced the biggest tumble of the day, losing 20.41% to R37.01, after it warned on Friday that it expected to report a substantial loss for the year to end-March. The company has been hard hit by the sugar tax in SA and the currency crisis in Zimbabwe.

Northam Platinum reversed earlier gains after releasing interim results showing a 49% jump in revenue to R5bn and a return to profit of R176m from a loss of R151m in the first half of its 2018 financial year. It fell 0.58% to R51.85.

Blue Label Telecoms rose 3.81% to R5.45 on the news that Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos will step down on March 1. Blue Label Telecoms, which holds a 45% stake in Cell C, also announced that a consortium will buy shares in SA’s third largest mobile operator.

Woolworths leapt 4.37% to R44.93, Truworths 5.44% to R76.02 and Clicks 3.98% to R184.51.

Brait was down 3.84% to R26.30 and AB InBev 4.18% to R1,044.55.

Shortly after the JSE closed, gold had increased 0.43% to $1,329.14/oz and platinum 1.67% at $837.77. Brent crude was up 0.84% to $67.48 a barrel.

At the same time, the Dow had gained 0.37% to 25,945.79 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had risen 0.37%, the DAX 30 0.31% and the CAC 40 0.29%.

menons@businesslive.co.za