JSE. Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK
JSE. Picture: MICHAEL ETTERSHANK

The JSE ended three straight days of gains on Friday, as global markets continue to feel the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, amid speculation over the effect it will ultimately have on the global economy.

The JSE all share weakened 0.44% to 57,276.49 points on Friday. It closed the week 1.21% lower and is now up 0.34% so far in 2020. The top 40 fell 0.42%, banks 1.42% and financials 0.97%. Gold miners were the only winners on the day, up 3.78%.

Earlier, most Asian markets fell, along with the oil price, as the growing death toll and economic damage from the virus put an abrupt halt to the rally in most markets earlier this week.

Reuters reported earlier that the death toll in mainland China from the new virus has more than doubled in just under a week. It reached 811 on Sunday. 

“The Wuhan coronavirus infections continue to rise in China, along with, sadly, its death toll,” said Oanda senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley. “Chinese authorities are continuing to enact containment measures across the mainland, suggesting that they do not see a light at the tunnel’s end as yet.”

On Friday the Shanghai Composite added 0.33%, but still has some way to go to recover the 7.72% it plunged last Monday, when it reopened after the Chinese New Year celebrations. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.33% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 0.19%.

Markets found some support last week from strong US economic data, as well as China’s cutting of tariffs on $75bn worth of US imports. However, the virus is likely to remain the dominant theme in the markets in the coming weeks.

The Dow was last seen down 0.69%, while in Europe, the FTSE 100 lost 0.51%, France’s CAC 40 0.14% and Germany’s DAX 30 0.45%.

At 7.30pm on Friday, the rand had lost 1.06% to R15.0674/$, 0.72% to R16.4917/€ and 0.81% to R19.4310/£. The euro fell 0.31% to $1.0946.

Gold was up 0.33% to $1,571.98/oz and platinum 0.61% to $968.22/oz. Brent crude was down 1.14% to $54.50 a barrel, after some gains earlier in the week when risk sentiment picked up a little.

Private hospital group Mediclinic said on Friday it had won its appeal against the Competition Tribunal’s prohibition of its proposed acquisition of Matlosana Medical Health Services in the North West.

The private hospital group said it was focused on delivering accessible quality care at the best possible value for its patients. Its share price was up 1.33% to R74.56.

tsobol@businesslive.co.za