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Ramaphosa win gives markets a breather

Dec 19 2017 18:30
Martin Harris, EasyEquities

Cape Town - Local markets can breathe a sigh of relief as Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was elected ANC president. 

The JSE firmed on Monday, with financial, retail and property sectors rallying on the back of Ramaphosa’s apparent lead in the #ANC54 elective conference.  

The All Share index closed 0.51% higher at 57 707.40 while the blue-chip top 40 gained 0.14%, hindered by the higher weighting toward rand hedge stocks.

Banks climbed 5.21%, retailers gained 4.09% and general financials firmed 3.49%. Resources shed 0.93%, Gold miners slipped 0.45% and industrials 0.37%, dragged down by large dual-listed stocks.

The rand surged over 2.5% to close at R12.80 against the dollar, as the market anticipated a victory for Ramaphosa.  The yield on long dated R186 bond firmed to 8.93.

Following the announcement that Ramaphosa was declared the victor, the rand firmed to R12.54 against the greenback, as the news filtered through global financial markets. 

A strong rand, as well as increased investor confidence following the Ramaphosa victory will support a positive outlook for economy-tracking sectors, while the firmer rand will hurt the traditional rand hedge stocks and commodity based sectors. 

FirstRand [JSE:FSR] led the banking rally and climbed 6.93% to R59.89, Barclays Africa [JSE:BGA] firmed 5.97% to R171.50 and Standard Bank [JSE:SBK] firmed 4.38% to R185.

Stronger global markets assisted the local bourse, as the Dow Jones climbed 0.77% to a fresh record high, on reports that the new US Tax Bill is moving closer to being ratified. European markets were also broadly firmer, with the UK FTSE 100 edging 0.47% higher and the German DAX  gaining 1.52%.

Naspers fell 2.11% to R3 240 per share, the stock has lost over 15% of its market cap in the last few weeks, wiping out over R340bn, as the stock continues to track its holding in Chinese listed Tencent.

Steinhoff International gained 5.6% to R8.48, ahead of a crucial meeting with banking lenders on Tuesday.

In international crypto currency news - a new Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Bitcoin futures contract, under ticker "BTC", began trading over the weekend.

Each BTC contract represents five bitcoins, in contrast to the one-bitcoin Cboe vehicle, ticker symbol "XBT", launched last week.

After surging earlier in the week and rallying further earlier in the weekend, Bitcoin dipped following BTC's launch, then immediately regained ground. 

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