Picture: MICHAEL BRATT
Picture: MICHAEL BRATT

A strong performance by Naspers and some miners helped keep the JSE flat on Tuesday morning, as a rising oil price and weaker rand put pressure on banks and retailers.

Oil has risen after reports suggested the US would end waivers for countries buying from Iran, as the White House intensifies pressure on that country.

Local equities were also reacting to a slight softening of the rand over the weekend, after it emerged that embattled power monopoly Eskom had received a R17bn bailout from the government.

At 9.50am the all share was little changed, adding 0.07% to 59,263.9 points, while the top 40 was likewise flat. Gold miners had lost 2.89%, banks 1.22%, general retailers 1.1% and platinums 0.89%.

Gold had lost 0.13% to $1,273.15/oz and platinum 0.36% to $895.75. Brent crude was 0.16% higher at $74.22 a barrel.

The rand had weakened 0.32% to R14.21066/$.

There are few local economic releases this week, but on Thursday, producer inflation numbers — as measured by the annual change in the producer price index (PPI) — are due.

The University of Stellenbosch's Bureau of Economic Research consumer confidence index for March is due on Wednesday.

Consumer confidence may have deteriorated in the first quarter in view of the extensive load-shedding in February and March, as well as fuel price increases and the announcement of a substantial electricity tariff increase for 2019, Investec economist Kamilla Kaplan said. Relatively subdued consumer confidence will continue to manifest in dampened activity in the consumptive sectors of the economy.

Diversified miner Glencore was up 0.71% to R62.30, BHP 0.89% to R344.41 and Anglo American 1.29% to R401.90.

Sasol had jumped 2.61% to R480.

Gold Fields slumped 4.81% to R52.26. It said earlier that company secretary Lucy Mokoka had resigned.

FirstRand was down 1.54% to R67.21 and Standard Bank 1.6% to R199.10.

Naspers was up 0.76% to R3,648.

Comair had added 1.12% to R4.50. A strike at its operations by some of its ground crew was averted at the weekend, although the labour court is expected to rule later on Tuesday whether the industrial action can proceed.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za