Picture: BLOOMBERG/KIYOSHI OSHA
Picture: BLOOMBERG/KIYOSHI OSHA

Positive global markets helped lift the JSE on Tuesday, with Naspers and retailers leading the gains as US markets pushed towards record highs.

Gains were broad-based, with only the local banking index a little lower. 

Market focus this week remains on US corporate earnings, but a series of economic data releases are also getting some attention.

Global markets were generally higher, with the Shanghai Composite earlier snapping a three-day losing streak, rebounding more than 2%, as investors await China’s first-quarter GDP numbers on Wednesday.

Naspers firmed 2.29% to R3,590.50, tracking gains in Hong Kong-listed Tencent. The market heavyweight, which constitutes more than a fifth of the all share, has gained for the past 10 consecutive weeks.

The all share firmed 1.12% to 58,902.6 points and the top 40 1.21%. Gold miners added 2.11%, food and drug retailers 1.19% and industrials 1.59%.

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Shortly after the JSE closed, the Dow was up 0.11% to 26,415.48 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had risen 0.43%, the CAC 40 0.23% and the DAX 30 0.59%.

At the same time, gold was down 0.84% to $1,276.65/oz and platinum 0.69% to $880.47. Brent crude had lost 0.17% to $71.16 a barrel.

Tuesday saw no economic data releases but both March consumer inflation and February retail sales numbers are due on Wednesday.

The consensus, according to macro-economics website Trading Economics, is for retail sales to have grown 1.2% year-on-year, while inflation is expected to accelerate to an annualised 4.6% from February’s 4.1%.

EOH rocketed 55.23% to R20.18, despite having earlier reported a R3.3bn loss for the six months to end-January, from a profit of R70.9m in the prior comparative period. The company was hit by impairments of some of its assets, but said that if once-off items were excluded, its operating expenses had remained flat during the period.

Steinhoff International added 1.73% to R1.76. Earlier, it said it was open to settling with those seeking damages as a result of a share price plunge prompted by accounting irregularities. Such settlements are being considered as alternatives to litigation, with the company facing class-action lawsuits from a number of aggrieved shareholders.

Northam Platinum gained 3.99% to R63.60. It earlier said it had completed the private placement of R1.65bn in medium-term bonds, which would be partially used to repurchase its shares, as well as those of empowerment partner Zambezi Platinum.

Mpact fell 2.06% to R24.29. Earlier, the Competition Commission said the packaging group had colluded to fix prices.

Nu-World Holdings jumped 7.62% to R45.20. It said earlier that headline earnings per share (HEPS) rose 9.1% in the six months to end-February compared to the matching prior period.

Zeder Investments added 1.9% to R4.28. It said earlier that HEPS jumped 81.9% to 45.1c in the year to end-February, in the middle of its recent guidance. Its dividend was maintained at 11c per share.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za