Cape Town – Trading on the local bourse softened on Friday, closing off a disappointing week, as a firmer rand pushed down resource stocks and rand hedges.
The overall market activity was muted, with little trading action driven by more than rand firmness.
The Resources Index shed its morning gains as it was dragged lower by BHP Billiton [JSE:BIL] and Anglo American [JSE:AGL] which dropped 0.62% and 1.3% respectively. A jump in steel prices saw Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] rise 3.50%, followed by EXXARO [JSE:EXX] +2.27%, Arcelormittal [JSE:ACL] +0.74%, and South32 [JSE:S32] +0.47%.
Chinese iron ore futures rebounded on Friday, jumping by 7%, as speculators reacted to news that the United States launched a probe into anti-competitive practices by Chinese metal exporters.
The JSE blue chip Top 40 closed 0.51% down, followed by the broader All Share Index, which traded 0.58% lower. All the major sectors chalked losses, with the Gold index -0.47%, the Financial Index -0.60%, the Industrial Index -0.54%, and the Resources Index -0.68%.
Crude Oil prices had dropped off 2.04% to $52/bbl at 17:00 CAT, amid concerns that an ongoing rebound in US shale production could derail efforts by other major producers to rebalance global oil supply and demand. The price of gold climbed after the close of the JSE by 0.20% to $1284/Oz, as investors seek out the safe-haven asset ahead of the French election.
The world is turning its attention to France, where voters will head to the polls on Sunday to choose their next president. It's a close race between the four frontrunners, which include independent Emmanuel Macron, far-right Marine Le Pen, conservative Francois Fillon and far-left Jean-Luc Melenchon.
Since an outright majority is unlikely, a run-off between the two leading candidates is expected and scheduled for May 7.
*This report is from the Trading Desk at EasyEquities, Fin24's latest content partner on equities and market moves.Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter: