Cape Town -Friday saw all sectors of the market close higher, with the All-Share index up by 0.80%, followed by the blue-chip Top40 up by 0.89%, industrials 0.44% higher and financials recouping some of the losses to the close the day 0.68% in the green.
Resources continued to be the stand-out sector to finish the day up 1.99% with gold miners up by 0.48%. BHP Billiton [JSE:BIL] was the best performer to end up by 2.94% while Anglo American [JSE:AGL] again pushed higher, to close up 1.47%.
After Thursday’s big rally by Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd [JSE:APN] the share eased off a bit, and ended the day down by 4.80%.
Pressure continued to mount on Steinhoff International Holdings [JSE:SNH] amid reports that South African-registered shareholders looked to join a Dutch class-action lawsuit. The share closed down by 7.85%.
Elsewhere, the Absa Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 44.9 in December from 48.6 in November. This index measures the manufacturing activity in the economy.
The rand weakened against the major currencies, trading at R12.44 against the dollar, R16.99 against the pound and R15.09 to the euro.
Gold traded at four-month high Friday, at $1328.47 per ounce as the US dollar remained vulnerable.
Elsewhere, it was a good day for metals with Silver up 0.45% to $17.09 per troy ounce, Platinum up 1.18% to $994.61 per troy ounce, and Palladium up 2.10% to $1,108.53 per troy ounce respectively.
Oil steadied near three-year highs, meanwhile, drawing support from tightening supply in the US. WTI is down 0.33%, currently trading at $63.59 per barrel while Brent Crude is down 0.13% currently trading at $69.17/bbl.
Most Asian markets clawed back gains on Friday with mixed data for December coming out of China which showed that imports only increased by 4.5% compared to the previous year, missing the forecast of 13%.
Exports, meanwhile, increased by 10.9%, beating the 9.1% projection.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rallied for a thirteenth straight day, closing at 31 412.54, up by 0.94% to edge closer to its previous all-time high of 31 958.41.
European markets were boosted as investors digest earnings data and positive news that the German coalition party leaders have reached a breakthrough in preliminary talks. The euro extended gains on Friday following hawkish comments by the ECB yesterday while dollar weakness continued.
Over in the US, we saw the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq reach new record highs as investors anticipated a strong earnings season, after Blackrock, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan all reported better-than-expected results.
Elsewhere, the latest US inflation data has increased the probability of a March rate hike, pushing the US two-year bond yield above 2% for the first time since the 2008 market crash.
Bitcoin and ethereum were steady after a tough week, which saw South Korean officials report a bill was being drafted to ban cryptocurrency trading within the country. At the time of writing bitcoin was down 2.85%, while ethereum was up 0.24%.
Ripple fell after Thursday’s rally following news that Moneygram will partner with the firm to test the token for international payments. It was down 10.73% on the day.