Johannesburg - The global sell-off in equities which threatens to become a full blown bear market, continued on Friday morning, but for once the JSE did not follow.
Despite some negative comments by economists on the State of the Nation address on Thursday evening, share prices and the rand recovered strongly from a weak start and all the major indices were higher by mid-morning.
The rand was also very volatile in early morning trade and reached R16.00 to the dollar at one stage, but was trading at a solid R15.80/$ by lunchtime. That was good news for financial shares which traded higher in contrast with the continued bloodbath in banking shares globally.
The All Share-index was 2.27% higher on 48 487 points and the Top 40-index was 2.41% stronger on 43 069 points. The Financial index gained 2.31% and the Industrial index 1.77%.
The rand’s strong performance is mainly a result of continued weakness in the dollar, which lost ground again against the yen, one of the safe havens in the current uncertainty. The local currency was trading in a range of R15.73 to R15.91 against the greenback.
The weaker dollar is also good news for commodity shares and commodity prices, particularly gold, which traded at $1 241 for an ounce on Friday.
Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] was a star performer, gaining a whopping 15.39% to R50.60, with Anglo American [JSE:AGL] adding 14.14% to R81.95.
Arcelor Mittal [JSE:ACL] gained 11.45% to R6.91 after saying it expects the government to adopt tariffs as a safeguard against cheap imports before the end of next month. The continent’s largest steelmaker posted an annual loss that ballooned 23 times from a year earlier.
Among the high flying gold shares Sibanye Gold [JSE:SGL] gained 4.01% to R49.23 and Harmony was 3.98% higher on R42.60.
In the platinum sector Anglo American Platinum [JSE:AMS] gained 7.97% to R306.74.
Standard Bank [JSE:SBK] and FirstRand [JSE:FSR] were again the busiest shares among the bank. Standard Bank gained 3.43% to R112.27 and FirstRand was3.33% firmer on R44.68.
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