MARKET WRAP: JSE edges higher despite slip by banks
Absa leads banks lowers after disappointing the market with its results, while Naspers gains amid a bit of optimism over the US-China trade talks
The JSE closed a little higher on Monday, largely due to a positive performance from Naspers, while banks came under some pressure from earnings reports.
Global trade was risk on. Comments from China's top central banker that the US and China were close to agreement on how the yuan was valued lifted sentiment.
It was a busy day for corporate results, with Absa and Old Mutual reporting full-year numbers. Absa slipped 3.1% to R167. It said return on equity improved to 16.8% in the year to end-December, from 16.5% in the prior comparative period. It lifted its dividend 4% to R11.10 a share.
Old Mutual slumped 5.46% to R20.59, after saying adjusted headline earnings decreased 11% to R11.5bn in the year to end-December.
Banks led the losses on the day, while general retailers and financial stocks were also under some pressure, despite a firmer rand.
As the JSE closed, the rand had gained 0.56% to R14.3496/$.
The all share added 0.17% to 55,580.7 points and the top 40 0.31%. Gold miners lost 3.39%, banks 1.17% and financials 1.28%. Industrials added 0.84%.
Naspers gained 2.44% to R3,146.53.
AVI added 1.43% to R91.99, despite reporting headline earnings for the six months to end-December 2018 fell 5.6% to R1.06bn, compared to the matching period in 2017.
Merafe Resources lost 4.26% to R1.35. It said earlier that headline earnings per share fell 25% in the year to end-December to 27.2c.
FirstRand gave up 1.27% to R62.12, ahead of its results to end-December on Tuesday. The bank said in February that it expected basic headline earnings per share (HEPS) to be between 22% and 24% higher than the prior comparative period.
RMI fell 3.13% to R31.90. It reported earlier that HEPS fell 9% to 125.6c in the six months to end-December. It upped its dividend 15%, however, to 45c.
Tongaat Hulett plunged 19.32% to R17.75, extending Friday's 28.34% slide, which was prompted by news it had discovered irregularities in its accounts, and might need to restate prior results.
Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow was flat at 25,468.92 points, weighed down by a hefty slump by Boeing. In Europe, the FTSE 100 was up 0.28%, the CAC 40 0.5% and the DAX 30 0.53%.
Gold was down 0.48% at $1,292.50/oz and platinum 0.84% to $810.34. Brent crude was 0.96% higher at $66.28 a barrel.
Tuesday is D-Day for UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan. British MPs will vote on a draft agreement that has been months in the making.
May has indicated that should her plan be rejected, she would try to get an extension of the March 29 Brexit deadline. Reports have suggested that May could instead present the vote on Tuesday as a provisional vote.