Johannesburg - The JSE slipped during its opening session on
Thursday, with the general mining plays leading the downside amid the ongoing
Greek debt concerns.
At 09:23 local time, the JSE All Share [JSE:J203] index was
0.26% in the red to 34,139.27 points, with the resource sector down 0.85%,
while platinum shares shed 0.83% and the gold index was flat (0.02%).
Industrials edged up 0.08%, financials inched up 0.05%, and
banks were down marginally at 0.15%
The rand was trading at R7.53 to the US dollar, from R7.55
at the JSE's close on Wednesday. Gold was quoted at $1 739.01 a troy ounce from
$1 745.89/oz at the JSE's previous close, while platinum was at $1 666/oz, from
$1 659.51/oz before.
"We are taking our cue from the Asian markets, which
fell on Greek debt concerns," Sasha Naryshkine, portfolio manager at
Vestact Asset Management. "I'm not particularly concerned about China's
latest inflation reading, which topped analysts' estimates because it could be
Most Asian stock markets dropped on Thursday as accelerating
inflation in China eroded expectations of further near-term stimulus measures
from Beijing, and added to the disappointment over Greece's failure to reach a
deal on debt restructuring talks.
China reported its consumer price index rose 4.5% in
January, up from 4.1% in December and topping expectations of a 4.1% rise.
The higher inflation number diminished expectations of more
near-term monetary easing measures from Beijing, with many market observers now
expecting a delay to a much anticipated reserve requirement ratio cut.
Greek government coalition talks on austerity measures ended
on Wednesday with one remaining point of disagreement, the prime minister's
office said. It added that it hoped for a complete deal to be reached by
Representatives of the European Union, the International
Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, have been organising massive
bailout loans for the debt-ridden country.
Greece desperately requires emergency funds from its
eurozone partners to avoid defaulting on €14.5bn worth of payments to bond
holders due on March 20.
European stock markets are likely to start higher amid a
wave of earnings reports and an anxious wait for Greece to iron out its
domestic austerity squabble and to wind up a bailout deal at the euro group