Picture: MICHAEL BRATT
Picture: MICHAEL BRATT

The JSE closed almost unchanged on Friday, despite sharp losses on European bourses, as local precious metal miners extended gains, benefiting from rising prices for some commodities.

Gloomy data out of the eurozone put European bourses under pressure, with a generally risk-off tone in both Europe and the US. A German manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to a six-year low, while French data also came in under expectations.

The all share ended the day 0.07% lower at 56,107.5 points.

Banks weakened 0.87% on a 1.8% slide in the rand to R14.4678 to the dollar, soon after the JSE closed. The local currency had, however, firmed significantly against the dollar overnight on Wednesday, after the US Federal Reserve delivered a dovish monetary policy message.

The all share was only just positive for the week, with a 0.12% gain.

The platinum index rose 1.03%, its thirteenth consecutive week of gains. The price of palladium, a sister metal to platinum, pushed to a series of record highs during the week amid supply concerns, before pulling back slightly on Friday. It is still up more than 23% this year.

Shortly after the JSE closed the Dow was down 1.18%, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had lost 1.99%, the CAC 40 1.81% and DAX 30 1.21%. Gold added 0.13% to $1,310.89.

Naspers added 2.38% to R3,278 but had fallen 1.79% on Wednesday. Tencent reported a decline in profit in its fourth-quarter results on Thursday, but the Chinese media giant closed higher on Friday.

Kumba Iron Ore added 3.21% to R394 and Assore 2.78% to R371.50. 

Rand hedge Richemont fell 1.38% to R103.13.

Aspen Pharmacare fell 2.54% to R91.09. The share price of SA’s biggest drug maker has been battered by concerns over its high debt burden.

After a big drop early in the day, Gemfields gained 2.94% despite saying it expected to swing into a full-year loss for the year to end-December, hit by impairments of some of its largest assets.

Major results next week include Capitec on Thursday. The bank closed 0.46% lower at R1,322.89 on Friday. The bank expects headline earnings per share for the year to end-February to rise by between 17% and 20%.

Volatility in the rand could be significant next week, with events expected to include another Brexit vote, while the the Reserve Bank monetary policy decision is due on Thursday.

US-China trade talks are also expected to continue, while Friday sees the long-awaited review of SA’s credit rating by Moody's Investors Service. Moody’s is not forecast to downgrade the country to junk status, but is widely expected to lower SA’s outlook to negative from stable.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za