Picture: 123RF/PHONGPHAN
Picture: 123RF/PHONGPHAN

The JSE tracked most global markets a little higher on Tuesday, with platinum miners faring best, while the US-China trade war continued to steal investor focus.

US President Donald Trump is due to give a speech in New York later in the day, which is widely expected to set the tone for the next stage of the trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies.

Trump said on Friday that he had not agreed to roll back tariffs on China, which prompted a sharp sell-off of risk assets. Those had been boosted last week by hopes that the two sides were closing in on formalising a partial deal reached in October.

Markets really do seem to be trading as if in limbo, Rand Merchant Bank analyst Siobhan Redford said. “Every couple of weeks, some hope that a deal is nearby is injected into the market, only to be followed by news of continued friction. This time is no different.” 

Shortly after the JSE closed, the Dow was up 0.2% to 27,747.67 points, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 had added 0.82%, France’s CAC 40 0.57% and Germany’s DAX 30 0.72%.

Earlier, the Shanghai Composite gained 0.17%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.52% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 0.81%.

The JSE all share ended the day 0.4% higher at 56,399.1 points and the top 40 added 0.47%. Platinum miners gained 3.4%, banks 0.67%, resources 0.58%, and food and drug retailers 0.55%. The SA listed property index fell 0.62%.

Anglo American Platinum rose 4.71% to R1,183.14 and Impala Platinum 4.23% to R107.92.

Telkom leapt 6.68% to R66.14, despite having earlier said that headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the six months to end-September fell 40.7% to 194.3c, partly due to its ramping up spending on its mobile offering. A trading statement warning of the fall in HEPS earlier in November had prompted a 7.46% fall in the company’s share price.

On Tuesday, the partially state-owned telecoms provider said: “Shareholders are advised that Telkom is in discussions in relation to a potential acquisition, which, if successfully concluded, may have a material effect on the price of the company’s securities.”

Although it didn’t mention Cell C, it has, in the past, made a bid to buy out the country’s third-biggest mobile operator, which is facing financial difficulties.

Naspers gained 1.09% to R2,155, while Tencent was up 2.23% in Hong Kong. The Chinese media giant, of which Naspers is the largest shareholder, is due to report third-quarter results on Wednesday. Its online music business reported after markets closed on Monday that paying users jumped 42.2% year-on-year in its third quarter to end-September, with operating profit rising 11.9%.

Anglo American rose 0.73% to R386.98. Bloomberg reported earlier that the mining giant had dropped another hint that its days of mining the world’s most polluting fuel are limited. 

In a slew of presentations released for an investor visit to Anglo American’s assets in Australia, thermal coal was noticeably absent from a list of units seen to have long-term potential, Bloomberg said. The company is on a trajectory away from thermal coal, and will do so responsibly, an Anglo spokesperson said.

The rand was a little weaker against major global currencies late on Tuesday. At 6.29pm it had fallen 0.27% to R14.9262/$, 0.1% to R16.4382/€ and 0.22% to R19.1721/£. The euro was a little weaker at $1.1013.

Gold was down 0.26% to $1,451.86/oz and platinum 1.07% to $865.66/oz. Brent crude was flat at $62.27 a barrel.