Johannesburg - The JSE opened the Wednesday session in positive territory‚ with gold counters leading the way and most of the main indices trading in the black. Platinum stocks were mildly lower.
The market was awaiting the budget today‚ after being on the back foot yesterday as global markets were pulled down by the stalemate in the Italian elections.
At 9:19 the local bourse was trading 0.15% firmer at 39 626.14 points‚ the gold index was 0.60% firmer‚ while the platinum index gave back 0.10%.
Rand Merchant Bank said in a morning note that the focus today would be on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s budget speech‚ which would most likely focus on infrastructure spending and job creation.
“The National Development Plan and a review of tax policy will also garner much attention in the headlines‚ but probably not in the detail. The government faces notably less room to manoeuvre due to the still uncertain macroeconomic backdrop and the elevated ratings risk‚” the bank said.
On the international front‚ RMB said US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke had acknowledged the risks from quantitative easing but argued that the benefits more than outweighed the costs.
“The threat of an early ending to a third round of quantitative easing seems to have receded‚” the bank said. “The combination of the risk aversion generated from Italy and the strong US data has sent the dollar surging.”
On the JSE‚ Anglo American (AGL) was trading 0.33% softer at R261.50‚ while rival BHP Billiton (BIL) was 0.21% firmer at R281.50.
Gold counters Anglogold Ashanti (ANG) added 0.78% to R226 and newly listed Sibanye (SGL) was trading 1.65% firmer at R13.54.
Imperial Holdings (IPL) was 0.90% softer at R201.17 after reporting a 14% increase in headline earnings per share in the six months to December 2012‚ to 872c.
Grindrod (GND) added 1.24% to R17.21 after reporting a 22% rise in headline earnings per share to 121.9c for the year ended December 2012 from 99.6c a year ago.
Digicore Holdings (DGC) jumped 4.4% to R1.90. The company reporting a 55% decline in diluted headline earnings per share for the six months ended December 2012 to 4.5c.
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