Johannesburg — The JSE was in negative territory in early trading on Friday‚ with the gold sector the sole bright spot.
The 1.1% gain in the gold index followed a 1.74% drop on Thursday‚ after mining output data that showed gold production tumbling more than 11% in September compared with a year earlier amid prolonged strikes‚ which also saw platinum production plunge 17.8%. Total mineral production dropped 8.3% in September.
At 09:40‚ the JSE all share index was trading 0.34% lower at 37 465.18 points with the top 40 index dipping 0.41%. Platinums were the biggest loser‚ shedding 0.86%.
The international environment remained unfriendly to the rand and SA in general‚ Rand Merchant Bank said in a note.
“US markets are continuing to fret about the fiscal cliff‚ with Wall Street ending another 1% down overnight‚” RMB said.
“The European Central Bank is negative on the eurozone growth outlook and has ruled out any fresh aid to Greece‚ but has left the door open for further rate easing.
“On a more positive note‚ Spain managed a large bond issue yesterday. They are now comfortably funded into next year‚” the bank said.
“Commodities prices are mixed. Growth-sensitive commodities such as copper and oil are weighed down by a slight bout of risk aversion‚ while gold remains on an uptrend — heading for its first weekly gain in a month.
“A number of factors are positive for gold‚ including optimism that the US will continue to extend stimulus measures to boost the economy‚ exchange-traded funds holding steady at record highs and a seasonal pickup in demand from India. Momentum is to the upside and the gold price is likely to test highs around US$1 750/oz‚” the bank added.
Among local counters‚ Anglo American [JSE:AGL] was down 1.08% at R260.80 and its rival BHP Billiton [JSE:BIL] was down 0.84% to R271.85.
Gold counters AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG] added 1.89% to R294.40‚ Harmony gained 0.34% to R74.14 and Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] was up 0.3% to R111.95.
Among platinum stocks‚ Lonmin [JSE:LON] fell 6.57% to R60.00‚ Northam Platinum [JSE:NHM] dipped 0.46% to R32.75 and Impala Platinum [JSE:IMP] gave back 0.42% to R153.35.