Johannesburg - The global mood continued to be positive on Monday morning as Asian markets moved further away from the four-year lows and possible bear markets reached last week. The JSE however did not join in the fun.
The big dual-listed commodity shares gave up a big part of the strong gains reached at the end of last week due to profit-taking. Shares like BHP Billiton [JSE:BHP], Anglo American [JSE:AGL] and Glencore [JSE:GLN] all lost more than 4% in early trade and at one stage their weight on the JSE pulled the Resources index more than 3% lower.
These shares were also sharply down in London, which stopped the rebound in European markets in its tracks after they made gains for first time in 2016 last week.
The result was that the All-share index was 0.11% lower at 47 611 points and the Top 40 index 0.35% weaker at 42 804 points.
The rand rallied on the back of the improved mood in world markets, trading at R16.47 to the dollar which helped the Financial index 0.62% higher. The Industrial index was virtually unchanged. By midday the Resources index was 2.52% softer but the Gold index traded 2.8% higher.
The lack of momentum on the JSE was particularly disappointing as the oil price, which was the main reason for the recent rout in share prices, continued its rally. The price of Brent crude rose above $32 per barrel as an icy spell in parts of the northern hemisphere pushed oil prices higher. The cold weather should increase the demand for oil.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.5%, putting further distance between a four-year low plumbed last week.
Shanghai stocks added 1% and Tokyo's Nikkei, which slumped to a one-year low last week, rose 1.2%. Australian shares advanced 1.8% to a two-week peak.
On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 2% and the Dow added 1.3% on Friday as a cold snap in North America and Europe caused a rally in oil prices. The S&P energy sector surged 4.3%.
Analysts said the continued rise in share prices will depend on central banks delivering on expectations of more stimulatory measures.
Both the Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan hold policy meetings this week. Investors will look for any hints of when the Fed intends to make a second interest rate hike, while there is speculation that the BOJ could opt to take additional easing measures. Investors expect no action from the Fed or BOJ, although investors will be looking for a more dovish forward bias.
Resources shares will however remain under pressure as expectations are that commodity prices will not increase soon because of high overproduction levels.
BHP Billiton, one of the world’s top commodity producers, said last week that it did not expect the prices of iron and coal to recover in the next few years. At midday BHP Billiton was 2.85% lower at R152.24, but at one stage it dropped more than 4% to R147.70.
Anglo American reached another 52-week low on Monday morning when the share price dropped 5.96% to R52.90. The share has now lost 63.03% of its value over the past 90 days. Glencore was 4.70% softer at R18.65.
It is however interesting that investors are beginning to see value in some of the commodity shares that have been the hardest hit by the slump in commodity prices, particularly the iron producers Assore [JSE:ASR] and Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO].
Assore gained 10.1% to R87.50 by midday on Monday after rising more than 40% over the previous seven days. Before the recovery, Assore dropped from a 52-week high of R179.60 to a low of R56 on January 12.
Kumba, which lost more than 80% of its value, was more than 20% higher over the past seven days before Monday’s trade. The pattern continued and the share price gained another 7.15% to R32.56 on Monday morning.