Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

The JSE gained on Friday as global equity markets rose following reports that progress was being made in the US-China trade talks.

Reuters reported earlier that Chinese vice-premier Liu He had spoken byphone to US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, and the two sides had “made substantive progress”.

The JSE all share ended the day 0.45% higher at 56,040.2 points with the top 40 gaining 0.4%. Banks and platinum miners led the gains, rising 2.59% and 3.14% respectively. Financials added 1.38%, gold miners 2.13% and industrials 0.47%. Resources lost 0.59% and the property index 0.62%.

Gains in the platinum and gold sectors could be attributed in part to the labour court’s decision earlier to disallow a sympathy strike in the sectors after the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) applied for permission to stage a seven-day secondary strike across a range of gold- and platinum-mining companies.

Workers at Sibanye-Stillwater’s gold operations have been on a wage strike since November 21 last year. Violence related to the strike has already led to the deaths of nine people.

Sibanye’s shares gained 2.3% to R15.14 on the day, with AngloGold Ashanti adding 4.27% to R197.92, Anglo American Platinum 5.08% to R777.58, and Royal Bafokeng 4.24% to R33.40.

Shortly after the JSE closed, the gold price had risen 0.52% to $1,302.93/oz and platinum 0.81% to $830.21. Brent crude had given up 0.86% to $66.58 a barrel.

At the same time, the rand had gained 0.73% to R14.4333/$, 0.48% to R16.3591/€ and 0.63% to R19.1588/£. The euro was 0.26% firmer at $1.1336.

Banks benefited from the firmer rand with FirstRand rising 2.43% to R64.05, Standard Bank 2.8% to R191.20, Nedbank 2.86% to R261.85, Absa 2.16% to R165.30, and Capitec 3.38% to R1,300.

Rand hedges gained despite the stronger local currency, with AB InBev up 0.88% to R1,170.20, British American Tobacco 0.91% to R582.78, and Richemont 0.46% to R104.03.

Naspers was flat at R3,1460. Its Hong-Kong listed associate Tencent is due to release results next week.

Next week’s calendar includes the release of consumer inflation numbers for February on Wednesday, with a moderation expected from January. Investec’s forecast is for consumer prices to have risen 3.9% year-on-year, from 4% previously.

Retail sales figures are due on the same day with Investec expecting a rise of 1.4% year-on-year in January. Bank economist Kamilla Kaplan said: “Retail sales growth is likely to remain muted for as long as consumer confidence is subdued, credit extension rates remain moderate and wage growth constrained.” 

At 6.05pm, the Dow was 0.6% higher at 25,865.05 points, while in Europe the FTSE 100 had gained 0.67%, Germany’s DAX 30 0.5% and France’s CAC 40 0.76%.

Local trade is expected to be subdued next week with SA markets closed for Human Rights Day on Thursday.

lindera@businesslive.co.za