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Local equities close weaker amid rand confusion

Aug 17 2017 19:48
Musa Makoni, EasyEquities

Johannesburg - The JSE closed weaker after a significant reversal in the afternoon.

The local bourse failed to gain any significant upside momentum after opening slightly firmer, as base metals prices continued to rally.

The rand traded in a volatile session which saw it reaching intra-day highs of R13.13 against the US dollar, before it reversed to reach a low of R13.24/$. This resulted in a mixed session for rand sensitive stocks which opened firmer but subsequently fell off after the rand depreciated.

Standard Bank, which released a decent set of results also failed to sustain the earlier momentum as it eventually closed 1.06% weaker at R163.35 per share.

The top movers included Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] which closed up 4.71% on the back of firmer gold prices, as well as retail stocks Shoprite [JSE:SHP] and Woolworths [JSE:WHL] which gained 0.87% and 1.44% respectively. Massmart [JSE:MSM] jumped 5.82%, while PPC [JSE:PPC] posted surprise gains of 9.17%.

Harmony Gold [JSE:HAR] released a positive set of results which indicated an increase of 35% in headline earnings per share and they also declared a dividend of 35 cents. The stock managed to close the day up 0.48%. Despite a relatively disappointing trading statement Sibanye Gold [JSE:SGL] inched up 1.19%.

Banking stocks were trading under pressure which saw Barclays Africa [JSE:BGA] and Nedbank [JSE:NED] closing down 1.20% and 1.10% respectively. Contrary to that trend First Rand [JSE:FSR] managed to close firmer as it gained 0.34% on the day.

Life Healthcare [JSE:LHC] reversed yesterday's gains to close the day down 2.47%.

The JSE All-Share index eventually closed down 0.22%, while the Top-40 index was down 0.29%. Most of the major indices closed in the red, with the Financials index shedding 0.50% on the back of the weaker rand earlier on. The Resources index lost 0.19%, while the Industrials index was down by 0.13%.

Gold continued tracking higher from the previous day’s close as it reached an intra-day high of $1 290.20 per ounce. This supported gold miners on the JSE, with AngloGold Ashanti [JSE:ANG] closing up 0.93%. The precious metal was trading at $1 284.63/oz when the JSE closed.

Palladium was also trading firmer following the uptrend in most base metals. The metal managed to reach an intra-day high of $929.86/oz, and just after the JSE closed it was trading at $928.31. Similarly, Platinum also traded firmer at $977.27/oz ounce just after the close, having managed an intra-day high of $981.95/oz.

Brent crude was hovering just above $50 per barrel for the greater part of today’s session. Despite the draw recorded in US crude inventories yesterday, there is still evidence of increased US production and as a result Brent crude has failed to gain any upside momentum. On the JSE, Sasol [JSE:SOL] closed 0.22% lower, with Brent crude trading at $50.72 a barrel just after the JSE closed.

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equities  |  jse  |  markets

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