JSE slightly firmer on positive data

2010-09-03 10:22

Johannesburg - The JSE opened slightly higher on Friday, following world markets which have responded well to positive US economic data. But the underlying tone indicated that there was caution ahead of the release of the US jobless data later today, an equities trader said.

By 09:17 local time the JSE all share index had gained 0.13%, with gold miners rising 0.53% and resources edging up 0.14%. But platinum miners fell 0.06%. Banks were up 0.19%, financials added 0.22% and industrials firmed 0.07%.

The rand was bid at R7.21 to the dollar from R7.22 at the JSE's close on Thursday. Gold was quoted at $1 252.41 a troy ounce from $1 251.72/oz at the JSE's previous close, while platinum was at $1 554.50/oz from $1 551.50/oz before.

The equity trader said continuing positive data from the US, which has cheered global markets, has underpinned the positive mood for local equities.  He added the market would likely remain slightly up, but caution may prevail ahead of the release of the US data later.

"If this jobs data is better, then the market will continue to rally," he said.

Dow Jones Newswires reports that Asian stock markets were modestly higher on Friday as another positive finish on Wall Street lifted sentiment, with technology plays leading markets in Tokyo and Seoul.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average closed 0.57% firmer and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was last 0.29% higher.

Investors were encouraged by a third-straight session of gains on Wall Street on Thursday, as well an unexpected increase in US pending-home sales. However, buying was tempered by caution ahead of the US jobless data report for August due later on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.5% to 10 320.10, marking its third-straight gain.

European stocks also opened slightly higher, but gains are likely to be limited as investors keep to the sidelines ahead of the jobless data. In London, the FTSE 100 index was last up 0.17%.