Picture: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID
Picture:  REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID

The JSE firmed on Thursday, led by general retailers, despite some market caution ahead of the Easter long weekend.

Most global markets were mixed, with analysts citing continuing concerns about the health of the global economy.

The JSE has now gained for six successive weeks, boosted by a strong performance by market heavyweight Naspers, which has now recorded gains for the past 11 weeks. It closed Thursday flat, however, at R3,620.35.

The all share firmed 0.53% to 59,222.5 points and the top 40 0.59%. Banks added 1.03%, gold miners 1.57% and general retailers 2.31%.

The all share rose 1.4% in the week, and has gained 4.89% so far in April. It is now up 12.3% in 2019.

Shortly after the JSE closed gold was up 0.12% at $1,277.65/oz while platinum had added 0.34% to $892.50. Brent crude was flat at $71.64 a barrel.

At the same time, the Dow had gained 0.14% to 26,484.86 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 was flat, the CAC 40 had risen 0.32% and the DAX 40 0.4%.

There was little economic news to give markets direction, but earlier, a flash reading of the eurozone services purchasing managers’ index (PMI) decreased unexpectedly in April to 52.5  points, from 53.3 in March. This was below the market consensus of 53.2.

Focus in the week ahead will be on producer inflation figures on Thursday, the week’s only local economic release. Producer inflation is expected to have moderated slightly to 4.6% in March from 4.7% in February.

There is also expected to be increased focus on the forthcoming national elections on May 8, analysts said, with the rand remarkably stable in recent sessions. Volatility in the local currency, however, may pick up in line with political rhetoric.

On Thursday, EOH gave back 1.84% to R22.38. The company’s share price has rocketed about 97% this week, as it pursues a turnaround strategy.

Kumba Iron Ore recovered 0.77% to R455.76, after Wednesday’s 4.94% fall. The world’s largest producer, Vale, has been given permission by a Brazilian court to reopen an iron-ore mine that was closed following a fatal dam disaster earlier in 2019.

Diversified miner BHP recovered 0.56% to R341.38, having lost 3.03% on Wednesday. It said then it had lowered its production forecasts for iron ore, as it grapples with a hurricane that hit Western Australia in March.

Sibanye-Stillwater lost 0.69% to R14.30. On Wednesday, the company said it had concluded a wage settlement with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), bringing a five-month strike at its gold operations to an end.

Sasol dropped 1.39% to R467.1. Earlier it said production was ramping up at its Secunda operations. However, the oil price fell earlier on Thursday, under pressure from rising production in the US.

Clicks leapt another 6.19% to R195.46, extending Wednesday’s 3.99% jump. It reported then that group turnover grew 6.2% in the six months to end-February. Total income rose 8.9% from the matching prior period.

Mr Price jumped 3.35% to R215.96

Rand hedge AB InBev gained 1.3% to R1,260.61 and Richemont 1.02% to R105.73.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za