Johannesburg - The JSE was steady at midday‚ amid a slow trading day so far‚ with lacklustre volumes due to investor fatigue and a lack of clear direction in the market.
“US Fed Chairperson Ben Bernanke yesterday did elude to further quantitative easing if necessary‚ which helped the local market higher‚ albeit in a very cautious tone‚” said Devin Shutte‚ market analyst at stockbrokerage Newstrading.
Bernanke will deliver further testimony to the House Financial Services Committee later today.
“Inflation is lower than expected at 5.5% from 5.7% previously and we have seen a downward trend of late; the chance of rate cut tomorrow is possible. There is some positivity in the bank sector today and the rand is firming up. If we see a rate cut tomorrow we will see weakness creeping into the rand‚” said Shutte.
At 11:43 local time‚ the JSE All Share [JSE:J203]
index was up 0.35% at 33‚825.62 points‚ with resources gaining 0.25%‚ platinum shares adding 0.48%‚ while gold counters slipped 0.97%. Financials edged up 0.36%‚ with banking stocks gaining 0.57% and industrials 0.42% in the black.
The rand was trading at R8.18 to the US dollar‚ from R8.22 at the JSE’s close on Tuesday‚ while gold changed hands at $1 578.32 a troy ounce from $1 576.15/oz at the JSE’s previous close and platinum was quoted at $1 411.00/oz‚ from $1 411.70/oz previously.
In Europe the FTSE 100 made a concerted push higher following the release of the Bank of England's minutes and UK unemployment data‚ but soon fell back to trade up only slightly higher.
Dow Jones Newswires reported that the minutes showed the monetary policy committee voted 7-2 in favour of the £50bn expansion of quantitative easing‚ saying there was a “compelling and stronger” case for it. Meanwhile‚ UK unemployment fell for a fourth straight month‚ however‚ the claimant count measure of unemployment rose again. At 11:28 local time‚ the FTSE100 was 0.23% higher at 5‚642.28 points.
In Asia‚ Hong Kong shares ended lower on Wednesday‚ due to investors’ jitters heading into the first-half reporting season‚ although much of the decline was attributed to blue-chip heavyweight HSBC. The Hang Seng Index fell 1.11%, snapping a 2.3% streak over the previous three sessions. In Japan, the Nikkei closed 0.32% lower.