The JSE was slightly lower on Wednesday, with miners and Naspers faring worst, as global equity markets took a breather after days of gains.

The JSE snapped a seven-session winning streak, taking its cue from losses in US markets on Tuesday. The losses in the local bourse on Wednesday were marginal, as gains by miners offset falls by banks, against a weaker rand. Positive data also offered some support to retailers.

The all share fell 0.1% to 58,710.6 points and the top 40 0.07%. Gold miners jumped 5.32%, while banks lost 1.19%.

Global markets have been buoyed by expectations of dovish US Federal Reserve monetary policy, although there are some concerns that hoped-for interest rate cuts may not materialise.

“It seems we’re dealing with a very emotional investor at the moment,” said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam in a note. “A lot seems to hang on how many rate cuts we’ll see from the US Fed and, to be honest, I think market expectations are too high so we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment.”

Local data was supportive. SA’s retail sales jumped 2.4% in April, led by clothing retailers, adding to hopes that a technical recession may be avoided in the second quarter. Retail sales grew at twice the rate expected in the Bloomberg consensus, with Statistics SA’s release on Wednesday coming after data on Tuesday showed manufacturing jumped 4.6% in April, the fastest pace in three years.

The retail sector is an important indicator of consumer spending, which drives growth in the economy as it accounts for just more than 60% of GDP.

The uptick in sales could be attributed to increased shopping activity during the Easter holidays, as well as base effects from the March load-shedding, which subdued shopping activity, FNB economist Siphamandla Mkhwanazi said in a note. Pressure on consumers, however, is likely to continue in 2019.

Diversified miner BHP rose 1.11% to R358.68 and Anglo American 1.16% to R389.52.

Sasol slipped 3.04% to R368.

Rand hedge British American Tobacco slumped 3.12% to R554.28, despite it saying earlier it expected sales of e-cigarette products to accelerate in the second half of the year, adding that it plans to consolidate some of its brands. 

AngloGold Ashanti jumped 6.11% to R225.30 and Sibanye-Stillwater 5.27% to R15.37.

Naspers fell 1.1% to R3,461.47 and Mr Price 2.77% to R206.50, while Clicks added 1.97% to R209.23 and TFG 1.59% to R181.44.

Trading ex-dividend, Tsogo Sun slumped 18.71% to R16.51.

At 5pm, the rand had fallen 0.92% to R14.8031/$, 0.89% to R16.7625/€, and 0.95% to R18.9385/£. The euro was flat at $1.132. The Dow was down 0.08%. In Europe, the FTSE 100 had given up 0.42%, the CAC 40 0.52% and the DAX 30 0.3%.

At the same time, gold was up 0.54% to $1,334/oz, while platinum was down 0.29% to $813.61. Brent crude dropped 1.87% to $60.92 a barrel, with prices under pressure after data showed a surprise climb in US inventory levels; Brent crude has now slipped about 3.71% this week.