Picture: EPA/JUSTIN LANE
Picture: EPA/JUSTIN LANE

The JSE slipped on Wednesday, snapping a three-day winning streak, as the trade war between the US and China weighed on global markets.

Reports suggested that China was pushing back against US proposals in their trade talks, while trade was also subdued by the forthcoming US Federal Reserve monetary policy announcement.

Volumes on the JSE were high, at almost R33bn, compared to the daily average of R20bn. Local markets will be closed on Thursday for the Human Rights Day holiday.

The all share gave back 1.24% to 56,145.7 points and the top 40 lost 1.28%. General retailers lost 2.61%, banks 1.75% and industrials 1.37%. The platinum index added 1.46%.

Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow had fallen 0.28% to 25,817.66 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 was flat. The CAC 40 had lost 0.54% and the DAX 30 1.46%.

Gold had fallen 0.22% to $1,303.41/oz, while platinum was up 0.81% at $858.53. Brent crude was 0.59% higher at $67.96 a barrel.

Platinum miners continue to benefit from a rising palladium price, which has been hit by supply concerns due to reports Russia is considering export restrictions on some sources of the metal.

Local data was somewhat upbeat, with the rand firmer in the afternoon, faring best against the pound.

Consumer inflation in February came in as expected. Inflation, as measured by the annual change in the consumer price index (CPI) rose 4.1%, a slight uptick from January's 4%.

Retail sales data was slightly better than expected, growing 1.2% year on year in January compared to market expectations of 1.1% growth. Retail sales had registered a shock 1.4% fall in December, while the market had expected growth of 2.7%.

The JSE’s general retailers index is by far the worst performing index in the year to date, having lost 15%.

There was, however, further good news on the day as the Reserve Bank said that foreign direct investment rose to a five-year high in 2018, with inflows of R70.7bn from R26.8bn.

Remgro fell 4.11% to R189.54 after reporting headline earnings per share decreased 3.3% to 752c in the six months to end-December. The group increased its interim dividend per share 5.4% to 215c.

Naspers lost 1.79% to R3,201.68. Chinese tech-giant Tencent, of which Naspers owns 31%, is expected to release its results on Thursday.

AB InBev fell 2.12% to R1,194.11.

Tiger Brands fell 4.01% to R267.06, having said earlier it had completed its sale of eight-million ordinary shares in Oceana to Brimstone.

Globally, all eyes are on the US Federal Reserve, which will announce it latest stance on monetary policy at 8pm, SA time.

At 5.23pm the rand was 0.91% firmer to the dollar at R14.3664, while the yield on the benchmark R186 government bond had fallen to 8.725% from 8.76%. Bond prices rise as their yields fall.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za