Johannesburg - With global markets in limbo, the JSE also moved mainly sideways on
Tuesday as investors wait for a decision on US interest rates by the Federal
Reserve’s Open Market Committee which will be announced later this week.
The attention will be on the Federal Reserve's indications on the frequency of future rate hikes, as a possible increase at this week’s meeting has already been
Current projections are
that interest rates will be raised three times this year, but there is a strong
likelihood of at least four hikes.
For South African
investors the focus is on the dollar's reaction to the rate increases, as dollar strength will have a big influence on commodity prices - the
main source of export revenue for the South African economy.
But if the rand loses ground
against a rampant dollar, it could make the dual-listed shares on the JSE
cheaper in rand for foreign investors. A softer rand will also support the revenue of South African exporters who report their results in rand.
The local unit traded 0.41% softer
at R13.21 to the dollar on Tuesday, after it stood at R12.86 on February 22 and
R12.95 on March 6.
By mid-morning the major indices on the JSE had hardly moved, with the All-share index only 0.1% lower at 51 810
points and the Top 40 index 0.14% down at 44 782 points. The Resources
index was only 0.22% lower, with the Industrial index losing 0.17%. The Financial index gained 0.22%.
The Resources index made a
strong run on Monday as a softer dollar supported commodity prices, but the
dollar regained some of its strength and commodity prices were marginally lower
again. Anglo American [JSE:AGL] was only 0.13% softer at R191.06, but Glencore
[JSE:GLN] lost 1.14% to R50.31.
Standard Bank [JSE:SBK]
was the busiest share in terms of volume and more than 4 million shares were
sold for R624m. The stock traded 1.52% higher at R152.53.
Standard Bank is one of
the 16 banks accused of colluding to rig the rand, but
investors were encouraged by indications that the matter could be resolved
quickly. It could go before the Competition Tribunal with the case concluded as soon as July, after a private pre-hearing was held on Friday.
There was also heavy trade
in FirstRand [JSE:FSR] shares, but the stock traded 0.64% softer at
R51.37. FirstRand is not one of the banks mentioned in the currency-rigging
Sanlam [JSE:SLM] made
another unsuccessful attempt in early trade to establish a 52-week high and by mid-morning was 1.07% softer at R69.17. Santam [JSE:SNT] traded on a 52-week
intraday high at R257.34, but lost momentum and at mid-morning was 0.22% softer at R255.06. Old Mutual [JSE:OML] lost 1.09% to trade at R35.98. Discovery
[JSE:DSY] traded 1.89% higher on a new 52-week high of R133.96.
Tiger Brands [JSE:TBS],
which hardly moved over the past month, was 21.61% up at R424.85.
was 2.96% higher at R205.25 and the share is now more than 11% up over the past 30 days, after the announcement that the proposed
merger with Steinhoff [JSE:SNH] is no longer taking place. Steinhoff gained
only 3% over that period and traded 0.70% softer at R66.52 on Tuesday morning.