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

The JSE closed marginally lower on Wednesday with global markets in a sea of red as concerns over the signing of a partial trade deal between the US and China weighed on global market sentiment.

To escalate tension between the two economic superpowers, on Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry criticised the US after the Senate unanimously passed a bill to support Hong Kong protesters, CNBC reported. Pro-democracy protest action entered its sixth month in the city state on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the US would impose higher tariffs on Chinese goods should the two countries not sign the first phase of a deal, which is reportedly scheduled for December.

“We’ve gone from a phase one agreement apparently being reached, ready for signing at this month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit — which was then cancelled, due to both sides failing to agree on tariff rollbacks, among other things, and a deal this year is looking less likely,” said Oanda senior Craig Erlam said.

“While some of Trump’s team have been keen to stress the progress that has and is being made, without an agreement on tariffs it will all be for nothing. And stock markets, which have rallied since Trump announced the deal, could suffer the consequences of talks once again breaking down,” Erlam said. 

Shortly after the JSE closed, the Dow was down 0.29% to 27,851.87 points. In Europe, the FTSE 100 lost 0.99%, France’s CAC 40 0.29% and Germany’s DAX 30 0.4%. Earlier, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.78%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.75% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 0.62%.

At 5.30pm, the rand was flat at R14.7564/$ and R16.3409/€, while it had weakened 0.1% to R19.0597/£. The euro was little changed at $1.1074.

Gold added 0.1% to $1,470.88/oz and platinum 0.53% to $915.10. Brent crude was 1.05% higher at $61.36 a barrel. 

The R2030 government bond was stronger, with the yield falling 0.5 basis points to 9.065%. Bond yields move inversely to their prices.

The JSE all share lost 0.1% to 57,313.4 points and the top 40 0.17%. Resources fell 0.82% and industrial 0.29%. 

Remgro leapt 6.12% to R196, to its best level in more than six months. The investment holding group said on Tuesday that it plans to distribute its 28% stake in RMB Holdings to shareholders.

Nepi Rockcastle gained 0.76% to R127.89. It said on Wednesday that net operating income increased 19.2% to €300m in the nine months to end-September. The landlord said it expects to increase its distribution growth by 6.5% in the year to end-December.

PPC rose 1.17% to R3.45. The cement maker said on Wednesday that its headline earnings per share (HEPS) fell 71.4% to 6c in the six months to end-September. Revenue declined 12% to R4.95bn due to a weak domestic building market and hyperinflation in Zimbabwe.

Empowerment company HCI said that it expects its HEPS to have decreased by between 22.2% and 17%, to between 452.1c and 481.2c, in the six months to end-September. This is as a result of a writedown of its oil and gas exploration assets. Its share price fell 3.13% to R92.50.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that mobile network operator Cell C might reject a takeover offer from Telkom due to concerns that the merging of Cell C and Telkom might affect a roaming agreement with MTN. Telkom’s share price fell 1.71% to R51.73 while MTN’s gained 0.19% to R96.58. 

mjoo@businesslive.co.za