Flight to safety sees stocks drag lower

The JSE fell sharply on Tuesday as it tracked other major global indices which have primarily weakened on the back of reduced demand for riskier assets since the release of US jobs data on Friday.

The local bourse quickly erased the meagre gains from the prior session on Monday. The index’s mining giants dragged the resources index lower despite some minor gains for some gold miners, while the financials index came under pressure as the rand recorded another volatile session. 

The rand managed to peak at a session high of R14.14/$ --but the gains were short-lived as it fell to a session low of R14.26/$.

The local currency was trading 0.1% weaker at R14.17/$ at 17.00 CAT.On the JSE, blue-chip stocks led the losses with index giant Naspers [JSE:NPN] dropping 1.53% to close at R3400.00.

Mining heavyweight Anglo American [JSE:AGL] fell 1.34% to close at R375.73, while fellow diversified miner BHP  [JSE:BHP] stumbled to close 0.78% weaker at R348.36. 

British American Tobacco [JSE:BTI] which is considered a rand hedge lost 1.98% to end the day at R525.67, while luxury goods retailer Richemont [JSE:CFR] fell 1.29% to close at R117.17.

Stocks which closed amongst the day’s biggest losers include Sappi [JSE:SAP] which closed at R51.34 after shedding 5.88%, PPC [JSE:PPC] which closed at R5.00 after losing 5.48% and Brait [JSE:BAT] which fell 4.75% to close at R18.25.

Significant gains

A limited number of stocks managed to record significant gains in today’s session. ArcelorMittal [JSE:ACL] rallied 9.84% to end the day at R3.46, Rebosis Property Fund [JSE:REB] rose to R0.70 after gaining 4.48%, and Murray and Roberts [JSE:MUR] closed at R14.00 after adding 3.02%.

Pharma giant Aspen Pharmacare [JSE:APN] added 1.23% as it closed at R101.45, while gold miner Harmony Gold [JSE:HAR] managed to post gains of 1.05% to close at R32.59.

The blue-chip JSE Top-40 index closed 1.49% lower while the broader JSE All-Share index lost 1.37%. All the major indices closed significantly weaker on the day.

Industrials lost 1.41%, Resources dropped 1.25% and Financials fell 1.75%.

Supply side risks on the back of the tensions in the Middle East continued to give momentum to brent crude, which quickly regained its footing after a minor wobble earlier.

The commodity was trading 0.09% firmer at $64.17/barrel just after the JSE close. At 17.00 CAT, Gold was buoyant as it was trading 2.27% firmer at $1397.53/Oz, Platinum was down 0.92% at $808.60/Oz, and Palladium had lost 0.82% to trade at $1548.55/Oz.

*Musa Makoni is a trading specialist at Purple Group.

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