Shares on the JSE tracked mostly lower on Thursday before closing softer as the Reserve Bank delivered its Monetary Policy Committee statement.
Investors locally were eager to hear the SARB monetary policy statement particularly on the backdrop of the US Fed which cut its interest rate by 25 basis points on Wednesday. The Fed highlighted that if conditions necessitated, it would not be afraid to adopt a more aggressive monetary easing policy.
In Johannesburg, the Monetary Policy Committee unanimously resolved to keep the repo rate unchanged at 6.50% as it highlighted that future policy decisions will be highly data-dependent.
Trading in Asian markets was mixed as significant losses were recorded for the Hang Seng which lost 1.07% after the Bank of Japan resolved to keep rates unchanged at -0.10%, while the Nikkei and the Shanghai Composite Index managed to gain 0.38% and 0.37% respectively.
In Europe, stocks tracked mostly higher as the Bank of England also kept the official bank rate unchanged at 0.75%. US markets managed to open marginally firmer as they reacted to positive economic data. The rand found some momentum in earlier trading as it peaked at a session high of R14.60/$.
However, it subsequently came under pressure bottom out at R14.73/$ before it was recorded trading flat at R14.68/$ at 17.00 CAT. On the local bourse, a volatile session ensued for Nampak [JSE:NPK] which recorded wide swings before it settled 8.31% lower at R9.60.
Sappi [JSE:SAP] also came under significant pressure as it lost 7.14% to close at R39.00, while Assore [JSE:ASR] fell to R277.52 after losing 6.16%. General miners struggled on the day with losses being recorded for Kumba Iron Ore [JSE:KIO] which lost 5.33% as it close at R392.90, African Rainbow Minerals [JSE:ARI] weakened by 1.64% to close at R147.54, and Anglo American [JSE:AGL] shed 1.11% to close at R346.04.
Other significant losers on the day included Discovery [JSE:DSY] which lost 2.68% to close at R122.00, Woolworths [JSE:WHL] dropped 2.315 to close at R57.48, and Impala Platinum [JSE:IMP] which closed at R89.64 after falling 1.91%. Gains for the large caps were limited on the day with advances being recorded for Remgro [JSE:REM] which closed 1.56% firmer at R177.43 following the release of its full-year results. Mondi [JSE:MNP] added 1.52% to close at R297.44, Richemont [JSE:CFR] gained 1.17% to close at R110.72, and Prosus [JSE:PRX] managed to close at R1113.37 after gaining 2.03%. Gold miner, DRD Gold [JSE:DRD] advanced 1.09% to close at R6.52, and Gold Fields [JSE:GFI] gained 2.33% to close at R71.99.
The JSE All-Share index eventually closed 0.09% weaker while the JSE Top-40 index only shed 0.02%. All the major indices retreated on the day although the losses were relatively modest.
Industrials shed 0.08%, Resources retreated 0.15% and Financials lost 0.27%. Brent crude recovered from its overnight lows on the back of increased supply fears despite the assurances from Saudi Arabia about getting back to pre-attack output soon.
The commodity was recorded trading 1.59% firmer at $64.59/barrel just after the JSE close.At 17.00 CAT, Palladium was up 2.13% at $1625.95/Oz, Platinum had gained 1% to trade at $941.25/Oz, and Gold was 0.42% firmer at $1500.35/Oz.
*Musa Makoni is a trading specialist at Purple Group