Picture: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS
Picture: BLOOMBERG/WALDO SWIEGERS

The JSE closed lower on Wednesday, with only platinum and gold miners showing a few signs of life, amid caution on some global markets.

US corporate earnings on Tuesday pushed markets in that country to record highs, but domestic equities came under pressure from a firmer dollar. The dollar has reached to a six-week high against the euro, pulling local miners, who benefit from the increased demand for commodities that generally come from a weaker greenback, lower.

The all share gave back 0.74% to 59,102.7 points and the top 40 fell 0.75%. Banks lost 2.01%, financials 1.44%, resources 1.16% and food and drug retailers 2.5%. Gold and platinum miners gained 0.42% and 0.21%, respectively. 

Shortly after the JSE closed, the Dow was mildly positive at 26,664.77 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had fallen 0.74% and the CAC 40 0.3%. Germany’s DAX 30, however, was up 0.51%. Earlier, Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.27% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.53%.

Gold was 0.28% higher at $1,275.91/oz and platinum 0.09% to $886.59. Brent crude was flat at $74.42 a barrel.

Local news was downbeat. The FNB/BER business confidence index showed earlier that conditions remained gloomy in the first quarter. Business confidence fell to two index points from seven in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Load-shedding weighed on confidence in the first quarter, FNB chief economist Mamello Matikinca-Ngwenya said, adding that prolonged strikes, rising fuel prices and the announcement of tax increases also contributed to declining confidence.

Sasol gave back 1.47% to R480.34, after surging 4.21% on Tuesday.

Anglo American lost 2.94% to R387.95. Earlier, JPMorgan reclassified the diversified miner's stock as neutral, from overweight previously.

Gold Fields rose 1.1% to R52.44 and Impala Platinum 1.21% to R63.61

Standard Bank slipped 2.19% to R195.13, having reported earlier that earnings attributable to ordinary shareholders were 8% higher in the three months to end-March than in the previous comparative period.

MTN slumped 2.4% to R102.25 and Vodacom 4.29% to R115.86. Earlier, the Competition Commission said the mobile network operators were charging higher prices in SA than elsewhere, recommending that data charges be lowered.

EPP, formerly Echo Polska Properties, fell 1.53% to R18.71. It said earlier that it planned to raise R1.2bn through a share issuance in order to allow financial inflows from a “significant new investor” that would purchase the bulk of the new shares.

RDI plunged 13.79% to R25 despite it saying earlier that it had agreed to a standstill agreement with creditors, after breaching its loan covenants as a result of a revaluation of part of its portfolio. A revaluation of its loan facilities, or a consensual sale of assets, is now to be completed by October 11.

US corporate earnings is the dominant theme on markets this week, while Friday sees the release of US GDP data for the first quarter.

Locally, producer inflation numbers — as measured by the annual change in the producer price index (PPI) — are due on Thursday.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za