Johannesburg - The JSE continued its upward trend at noon on Friday on the back of firmer international markets‚ after China’s second-quarter GDP data met market expectations‚ and US futures point to a stronger start.
At 12:02 local time‚ the JSE All Share [JSE:J203]
index was up 0.69% at 33 620.57 points‚ with resources gaining 1.23%‚ gold shares rising 1.44% and platinum counters climbing 0.47%.
Financials stayed flat (0.05%)‚ industrials were 0.67% firmer‚ while banking stocks shed 0.43%.
The rand was trading at 8.32 to the US dollar‚ from 8.36 at the JSE’s close on Thursday‚ while gold changed hands at $1 580.48 a troy ounce from $1 559.05/oz at the JSE’s previous close and platinum was quoted at $1 427.20/oz‚ from $1 410/oz previously.
“We have been firmer for most of the day and are watching international markets‚ but the firm bias should last through to the weekend‚” said a local trader.
“We dodged a major landmine this morning. China’s second quarter GDP growth figure came in as expected at 7.6% year on year‚ confirming a slowdown but not suggesting stagnation. The growth number is the lowest since the crisis and represents the sixth straight quarter of deceleration. But the fact that it was not worse is a cause for relief. The monthly data‚ meanwhile‚ still leaves us unclear whether the second quarter was the low for the cycle or if there could be a further slowdown this quarter‚” Rand Merchant Bank said.
Elsewhere‚ eurozone troubles were continuing‚ with Moody’s unexpectedly downgrading Italy by two notches overnight. The US releases of PPI figures today and US University of Michigan consumer confidence data‚ as well as some major corporate results.
In England‚ The FTSE 100 traded up‚ maintaining mild gains. Traders in London digested data showing output in the UK construction sector rose 6.3% in May from April. Barclays PLC's (BCS) corporate and investment banking chief Rich Ricci said the business was not affected by the Libor scandal and the firm anticipated it would have a strong year‚ Fox Business Network reported yesterday.
Banks connected to the scandal involving the misreporting of Libor‚ the benchmark short-term interest rate‚ face liability risks of around US$6.2 billion‚ or almost $400 million for each of the 16 accused banks‚ German newspaper Financial Times Deutschland reported on Friday‚ citing a report by Morgan Stanley analysts.
At 11:47 local time the FTSE 100 was up 0.55% at 5 638.87.
In Asia‚ stocks climbed on Friday as China reported second-quarter growth in line with expectations‚ dousing fears of a sharper-than-expected slowdown in the region’s largest economy. “The fact the numbers are not as bad as people had feared gives the market a boost‚” said Francis Lun‚ managing director at Lyncean Securities. “Also‚ the government is expected to further introduce monetary policies such as a reserve requirement ratio cut to prevent the economy from slowing down too much.”
The Hang Seng Index closed 0.35% higher at 19 092.63‚ led by commodity stocks‚ but Japan’s Nikkei average ended the session flat‚ adding just 0.05% to 8 724.12.