JSE drops most in more than three years as virus fears mount
New cases of the virus have been reported in South Korea, Italy and Iran
The JSE started the week with a third consecutive session of losses on Monday, suffering its biggest intraday drop since June 2016 as the rise in new cases of the coronavirus outside China sparked global risk-off trade.
New cases of the virus have been reported in South Korea, Italy and Iran, fuelling fears that the outbreak may turn into a global pandemic. China has since lifted its movement restrictions for locals as the number of new cases decreases, Reuters reported.
“Investors have sold out of shares for five Fridays in a row because they were unwilling to hold on over the weekend in the likelihood of bad news about the coronavirus. They were correct to do so this weekend. The number of coronavirus cases has shot up to 763, with all flights to the city of Daegu cancelled,” said London Capital Group head of research Jasper Lawler.
Earlier, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.28%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng 1.79% and Japan's Nikkei 225 0.39%. In Europe, the FTSE 100 dropped 3.12%, France's CAC 40 3.61% and Germany's DAX 3.52%.
At 12.02pm, the JSE all share had dropped 3.41% to 55,380.12 points and the top 40 3.62%. Banks were down 3.43% and resources 3.80%
Sasol said on Monday that headline earnings per share fell 74% to R5.94 in the six months to end-December. Its share price was down 6.90% to R199.31.