The JSE traded mostly flat on Monday before closing firmer as investors looked for fresh signals on market direction.
Following last week’s slump, the tone remains cautious across most global indices with gains being relatively modest. Markets in the US and the United Kingdom were closed on Monday which also added to the relatively subdued trading activity across global indices.
The trade war between China and the US remains a thorn in the flesh of most investors and inevitably this will remain the talking point in the short to medium term.
On the currency market, the rand was mostly stable as South Africa’s Cabinet announcement was postponed to a later date. The rand did weaken marginally but mainly on the back of a firmer US dollar. The rand weakened to a session low of R14.47/$ before it was recorded trading 0.4% weaker at R14.44/$ at 17:00.
On the JSE, Ascendis Health [JSE:ASC] came under significant pressure as it fell 3.65% to end the day at R4.75. Brait [JSE:BAT] struggled as well as it slumped 5.72% to close at R17.65, while sugar producer Tongaat Hulett [JSE:TON] lost 4.2% to end the day at R18.46.
Retailers tracked mostly lower on the day which saw losses being recorded for The Foschini Group [JSE:TFG] which lost 3.77% to close at R171.20, while Truworths [JSE:TRU] closed 1.39% weaker at R68.04. Aspen Pharmacare [JSE:APN] retreated 4.49% to end the day at R93.50, while Mediclinic [JSE:MEI] lost 2.53% to close at R57.00.
EOH Holdings [JSE:EOH] rebounded in today’s session as it rose 8% to close at R21.60 to finish amongst the day’s biggest gainers. Telkom [JSE:TKG] was buoyed by the release of its full-year financial results which indicated decent increases in revenue and earnings. The stock eventually closed 4.09% firmer at R90.00.
Rand hedge Sappi [JSE:SAP] managed to gain 2.49% as it closed at R54.30, while Richemont [JSE:CFR] added 1.16% to close at R107.80. Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] climbed 2.34% to end the day at R452.38, while Discovery Ltd [JSE:DSY] closed at R139.80 after gaining 2.23%.
The JSE All-Share index eventually closed 0.2% firmer while the blue-chip JSE Top-40 index added 0.26%. The resources index gained 0.58% while the financials and Industrials indices barely closed 0.06% and 0.05% firmer respectively.
At 17:00, gold was 0.03% firmer at $1285.26/Oz, platinum was 0.34% firmer at $808.45/Oz, and palladium had gained 0.25% to trade at $1339.70/Oz.
Brent crude advanced in today’s session mainly on the back of increased tensions in the Middle East as well evidence of reduced output from OPEC. The commodity was trading 0.87% firmer at $68.06/barrel just after the JSE close.
* Musa Makoni is a trading specialist at Purple Group.