The bears continued to win the battle on the equities markets on Wednesday.
The World Bank cutting its 2018 growth forecast for sub-Saharan Africa to 2.7% was not positive for the region's currencies.
In Asia, markets opened the day softer, with motor vehicle counters easing after a surprise decline in new motor vehicle sales in the US. The Nikkei retreated 0.66% on the day to trade at 24 110 points, while the Hang Seng retreated 0.13% to 27 091 points. Asian markets are beginning to look fickle after a strong run last week, with all eyes are now firmly focused on Friday's economic data out of the US.
In local company news, EOH [JSE: EOH] released disappointing year-end results. The business did not declare a dividend for the first time in 16 years, as Headline earnings per share dropped from R7.97bn in the previous reporting period to R2.78bn. As is the case with many businesses in South Africa, the business had to sell some assets to resize its operations in a bid to remain profitable and focused on its core business.
Several stocks that went ex-dividend stood their ground, avoiding getting a spot on the biggest losers list. Among the biggest losers wer Vivo technologies [JSE:VVO], which gave up 10.74%, while Ascendis Health [JSE:ASC], Blue Label [JSE:BLU] and RMB [JSE:RMH] recorded losses of 5.28%, 4.93% and 4.91% respectively.
On the biggest winners list were South32 [JSE:S32] (+4.2%), Exxaro [JSE:EXX] (3.87%), Telkom [JSE:TKG] (+3.4% and Mpact [JSE:MPT] (+3.00%).
The Resource 10 index was again the only major index to record any gains on Wednesday, adding 0.26%. The Financial index pulled back 1.64%, while the Industrial index shed 0.49%. The All share closed the day 0.54% in the red, while the Top-40 retreated 0.55%.
The rand was flat, trading at R14.36/$. Against the euro and pound the local unit was marginally firmer, trading at R16.54 and R18.66 respectively.
South African 10-year Bond (R186) yields were flat on the day and were trading at 9.09% at 17:00.
Commodities were generally flat on the day, with gold down 70c to trade at $1 206.30/ounce. Platinum was marginally firmer at $838/ounce. Brent crude continued to advance, with a barrel of crude changing hands at $85.08 after reaching an intraday high of $85.33.
Cryptocurrencies were softer, with Bitcoin shedding 0.15% to trade at $6 532.2/coin and Ethereum sliding 2.15% to trade at $222.
* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER