Risk-off was the order of the day as investors remained bearish due to several factors ranging from Brexit, Chinese economic growth and Italy’s budget. US corporate earnings from companies such as Caterpillar and 3M failed to inspire a surge in New York as both the Down Jones Industrial Average and S&P500 opened significantly weaker. In earlier Asian markets trading the Hang Seng fell by 3.08% while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 2.66%.
On the JSE, the losses deepened after the US market open which saw stocks such as Aspen [JSE:APN] drop 5.25% to close at R148.04, while Mediclinic [JSE:MEI] fell by 3.88% to close at R66.56 per share. Ascendis Health [JSE:ASC] took a big knock as it slumped by 11.46% to end the day at R7.34. Astral Foods [JSE:ARL] also came under significant pressure to close at R182.60 after dropping 5.36%.
Index giant, Naspers [JSE:NPN] failed to get a reprieve as it lost another 4.59% to close at R2681.05, mainly on the back of the weakness in its Hang Seng listed associate. Banker, ABSA Group [JSE:ABG] lost 2.55% to close at R140.50, Standard Bank [JSE:SBK] dropped 3.66% to R157.00, and FirstRand [JSE:FSR] fell 2.13% to R59.83. South32 [JSE:S32] pulled back by 3.58% to close at R36.90, while commodities giant, Glencore [JSE:GLN] lost 3.14% to close at R56.15.
Gold miners were buoyed by higher gold metal prices which saw Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] climb 5.85% to end the day at R42.49, while Harmony Gold [JSE:HAR] rose to close at R30.01 after gaining 4.38%. Impala Platinum [JSE:IMP] led the platinum miners as it closed 3.18% firmer at R24.95, while Royal Bafokeng Platinum posted gains of 0.91% to close at R27.60. British American Tobacco [JSE:BTI] was one of the index’s top gainers after adding 4.56% to close at R650.00.
The blue-chip JSE Top-40 index closed 2.23% weaker, while the JSE All-Share index dropped 1.98%. The Industrials index fell by 2.27%, while the Financials and Resources indices dropped 2.22% and 1.66% respectively.
The rand pulled back from its overnight highs against the US dollar to reach a session low of R14.44/$. At 17.00 CAT, the rand was trading at R14.42/$.
Brent crude slumped further as Saudi Arabia reiterated its pledge to maintain adequate supplies to global markets. The commodity had fallen 2.58% to trade at $77.78/barrel just after the JSE close.
At 17.00 CAT, Gold was 0.79% firmer to fetch $1231.83/Oz, Palladium was up 0.61% to trade at $1130.89/Oz, and Platinum had gained 0.65% to trade at $827.83/Oz.
Bitcoin was flat to trade at $6562.10/coin while Ethereum was down 1.07% to trade at $204.13/coin.
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