Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE was lower on Thursday after gaining for six consecutive trading days, while global markets cheered more progress in the US-China trade war

Reports that China and the US have agreed to a phased removal of tariffs on the former’s imports lifted most global stocks on Thursday. The two economic superpowers are reportedly scheduled to sign a partial trade deal in December. 

“The news lacked a bit of detail. It is almost as if the markets have decided that any news is good news when it comes to the trade war uncertainty. For that reason, emerging markets started off really strong on Thursday, but we are beginning to see that fade now,” said  Unum Capital equity trader Rob Pietropaolo.

Manufacturing production slipped further into negative territory in September, with a contraction of 2.4%, data from Stats SA showed on Thursday. The Bloomberg median forecast was for a contraction of 0.9%, from another of 1.8% in the previous month.

The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) business confidence index, released on Thursday, fell to 91.7 points in October from 92.4 in September. This is below Bloomberg’s median forecast of 92.

Shortly after the JSE closed, the Dow was up 0.76% to 27,699.13 points. In Europe, the FTSE 100 added 0.23%, France’s CAC 40 0.3%, and Germany’s DAX 30 0.71%. 

Earlier, the Shanghai Composite was flat while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.57% and Japan’s Nikkei 0.11%. 

At 5.21pm, the rand had firmed 0.36% to R14.7581/$, 0.48% to R16.3152/€, and 0.67% to R18.9177/£. The euro had weakened 0.1% to $1.1055.

Gold was down 0.48% to $1,483.09/oz while platinum added 0.3% to $931.17. Brent crude was up 1.42 % to $62.66 a barrel. 

The R186 government bond, which matures in 2026, was stronger, with the yield falling one basis point to 8.395%. Bond yields move inversely to their prices.

The JSE all share fell 0.29% to 57,483 points and the top 40 0.36% Resources relinquished 0.53% and platinum miners 1.16%. 

Dis-Chem Pharmacies gained 5.21% to R25.25, this despite it saying on Thursday that its headline earnings per share (HEPS) fell 38.9% to 31c in the six months to end-August. Group revenue, however, rose 13.2%.

TFG fell 2.87% to R166.72. The retailer said on Thursday that its HEPS increased by 3% to 526.7c in the six months to end-September. It said its group retail turnover rose 6.5% to R17bn.

ArcelorMittal gained 9.41% to R1.86, despite the steel manufacturer reporting local sales falling 16.9% to 737,000 tonnes in the quarter to end-September.

PPC plunged 12.31% to R3.42 after the cement maker said on Thursday that it expects HEPS to have decreased by between 65% and 85% (14c-18c) in the six months to end-September.

MTN said on Thursday that it has amended its black empowerment scheme Zakhele Futhi. The changes include the scheme being able to appoint its own chair. Its share price was flat at R97.47.

MultiChoice gained 0.76% to R125.20. It said on Thursday that its HEPS are expected to increase by between 20% and 25%, or by between 70c to 88c, in the six months to end-September.

AVI fell 2.04% to R86. The consumer goods company said on Thursday that it had sold its 40% stake in its joint venture with Australian company Simplot, resulting in an after-tax capital gain of about R370m. AVI said consolidated earnings per share, including gains and losses, are expected to increase by 35% to 45%, to between 409c and 440c, in the six months to end-December. 

mjoo@businesslive.co.za