Johannesburg - The
currency markets continued to dominate activities on the JSE on Wednesday
morning, and the major indices were almost unchanged by mid-morning.
The rand was at R13.00 to the dollar, with the greenback at three-week highs after Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen flagged a
possible rise in US interest rates next month.
The result was that the strong rand supported financial
shares, while the dual-listed shares in the resources and industrial sectors were
pushed down as they are more expensive for foreign buyers if the rand
A strong dollar is also detrimental to commodity prices and by mid-morning resources were trading 0.26%
softer, up from much bigger earlier losses.
The Industrial index was only 0.02% firmer, supported by higher
European markets which followed the record-breaking markets on Wall Street
The Financial index traded 0.64% stronger with
Nedbank [JSE:NED] and African Phoenix [JSE:AXL] the strong runners, both trading at new 52-week
As a result the All-share index by mid-morning
was only 0.10% higher at 52 57 points, while the Top 40 index was 0.02%
stronger at 45 447 points.
The rand remained the big
news with the currency strengthening 2.48% to R13.00/dollar by mid-morning on
the back of improved emerging market sentiment. This came after US President Donald Trump
made no mention of currency or protectionist policies during his meeting with
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Recent Chinese and Japanese trade data also
supported emerging market sentiment.
The underlying message of improved economic conditions in
the US sent Wall Street to new records, followed by the Asian and European
markets. The buoyant mood on global markets limited losses in the
Nedbank was one of the star performers in the
financial sector, gaining 2.07% to trade at R249.00. Before Wednesday’s trade
the share gained more than 7% over the previous seven days. Standard Bank
[JSE:SBK] was 0.81% stronger at R148.47 and FirstRand [JSE:FSR] gained 0.94%
Old Mutual [JSE:OML], Nedbank’s holding company, did not
benefit from the jump in the Nedbank share price and lost 0.32% to R35.05.
Sanlam [JSE:SLM] was however 1.67% up at R68.12.
The strong demand for shares in African Phoenix [JSE:AXL],
the new version of the old Abil, continued and more than 8 million shares changed hands for R4.5m. The share price jumped 8% on Wednesday to trade at a
new 52-week high of 52c.
Before Wednesday’s trade the stock gained more than 11.11%
over the previous seven days. When Abil’s listing was suspended the share was
worth 31c, which meant shareholders who kept their shares already made a
profit of 61.2%.
Naspers [JSE:NPN] was barely in the black, trading 0.16%
stronger at R2 112.40, but Richemont [JSE:CFR] was 0.67% softer at R98.70.
BHP Billiton [JSE:BIL] in the resources sector was 0.75%
higher at R230.53, but Anglo American [JSE:AGL] lost 0.26% to R228.33.