Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

Trade conflict between the US and China overshadowed the trickling in of SA's national election results on Friday, with the local bourse tracking global markets to recover from Thursday's sharp losses.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump lifted import tariffs on Chinese goods, as threatened, but investors were clinging to hopes that a deal would still be reached soon as negotiations continue on Friday, said London Capital Group analyst Jasper Lawler.

The threat of the increase in tariffs had put pressure on global equities on Thursday, with the JSE then falling 2.67%, to a six-week low.

Local focus remains on the elections, with results from the national polls due sometime at the weekend. 

The rand was holding steady amid the expectations that the results would be market neutral to mildly positive, Rand Merchant Bank analyst Mpho Tsebe said.

At 10am the rand was 0.56% firmer at R14.2261/$, helping to lift local banks, with that index up 3.91%.

The all share had gained 1.55% to 57,369.6 points and the top 40 1.65%. Financials had risen 2.72%, general retailers 2.54% and food and drug retailers 2.06%. Gold miners had given up 1.63%.

Gold was flat at $1,284.85/oz while platinum had added 1.09% to $856.91. Brent crude was 0.81% higher at $70.78 a barrel.

Sasol was up 1.41% to R441.53.

Rand hedge British American Tobacco gave back 1.49% to R533.34. 

Lonmin added 0.33% to R12.12, recovering slightly from Thursday's 7.79% slump. Its recovery was despite it saying earlier that total platinum production, as measured by metal in concentrate, fell by 10% to 276,020oz in the six months to end-March.

Nedbank jumped 4.69% to R277.96 and Standard Bank 4.36% to R204.14.

Pepkor, a subsidiary of Steinhoff, added 1.71% to R19.60. It said earlier that it expected headline earnings per share (HEPS) to rise by between 34.1% and 54.1% in the six months to end-March.

Steinhoff International fell 13.75% to R1.38, extending Thursday's 20.4% loss.

Net1 UEPS was unchanged at R53.06. It said earlier its revenue fell as much as 47% in the three months to end-March following the expiration of its contract to distribute social grants in SA.

Naspers had firmed 2.64% to R3,500.16.

Kaap Agri rose 3.68% to R33, having said earlier that net profit rose 3% in the six months to end-March from the prior corresponding period, although the group’s gross profit margin fell to 15.5% from 17.3% previously.

Netcare ticked up 2.2% to R23.69. It said earlier that adjusted HEPS for continuing operations the six months to end-March was expected to decrease by between 1% and 6% compared to the prior corresponding period.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za