Johannesburg - The JSE stock market closed higher on Friday‚ buoyed by mining stocks‚ which experienced a big selloff earlier this week.
There was no positive news to drive markets and sentiment is still negative due to local mining woes.
At 17:00 local time‚ the JSE all-share index closed 0.40% up at 35 757.98 points‚ with the platinum index gaining 2.41% and gold counters lifting 2.14%.
“We had quite a flat day today and saw investors buying gold counters‚ which shows that there is uncertainty in the market and investors are running back to the perceived safe haven‚” said Martin Strauss‚ equity dealer at PSG Konsult in Pretoria.
“The rand weakened today due to the downgrade of our government debt by Moody’s overnight; the trade deficit figure also had a negative influence‚” he added.
A R12.2bn South African deficit was recorded in August‚ following a R6.7bn deficit in July‚ according to SARS customs and excise figures released on Friday morning.
“We saw some negative news out of the US with a contraction in the manufacturing index in the Chicago area and lower than expected consumer sentiment in September‚” Strauss added.
Leading European equities were trading weaker due to investor jitters ahead of Spanish banks’ stress test results‚ with the London FTSE 100 last seen 0.39% softer.
Spanish worries also influenced US trade with the Dow Jones Industrial index 0.81% weaker at 17:00 local time. Markets were braced for the chance that Moody's could downgrade Spanish government debt to junk status after the markets close on Friday‚ as the rating firm's timeline to decide on the matter ends this month‚ Dow Jones Newswires reported.
However‚ Barclays Bank said in its global macro daily report that Spanish deficits cuts had bolstered rescue hopes.
“The Spanish government austerity measures seek to cut the deficit by €40bn next year. Several details still have to be disclosed‚ but the budget estimates were run under the assumption that activity may contract 0.5% next year‚ a number significantly more optimistic than our and consensus forecasts. While there has been much bad news recently‚ Spanish assets have lost only a small part of their past two months’ gains‚” the bank said.
Among local counters that showed movement on the JSE were Anglo American [JSE:AGL]
down 1.07% at R244.66‚ while BHP Billiton [JSE:BIL]
added 0.27% to R257.85.
Gold counter AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG]
gained 2.33% to R292.42‚ Gold Fields [JSE:GFI]
was 2% stronger at R106.75 and Harmony Gold Mining Company [JSE:HAR]
added 1.93% to R69.83.
Among platinum counters Impala Platinum Holdings [JSE:IMP]
added 3.12% to R139 and Anglo Platinum [JSE:AMS]
closed 2.39% higher at R428.