Local stocks retreat as resources struggle

The JSE closed softer on Monday, primarily on the back of losses on the resources index.

Chinese equity markets resumed trading on Monday after a week-long closure and they took a heavy loss as the market digested the impact of the fears around the spread of coronavirus. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index plummeted to close 7.88% lower. The Nikkei also came under pressure as it lost 1.01%. The Hang Seng managed to eke out gains of 0.17%.

Stocks in Europe edged higher as they recovered from heavy losses on Friday while US equity markets managed to open firmer.

In terms of local economic data, there was some disappointment recorded in the Absa Manufacturing PMI data for January, which declined to 45.2 from a previous recording of 47.1.

The rand recovered in Monday's session following a significant decline on Friday. The rand peaked at a session high of R14.84/$ before it was recorded trading 0.89% firmer at R14.86/$.

On the JSE, EOH Holdings [JSE:EOH] came under significant pressure as it tumbled 20.61% to close at R6.51. Heavy losses were also recorded for Stadio Holdings [JSE:SDO] which fell 11.83% to close at R1.64, as well as packaging specialist, Nampak [JSE:NPK] which plummeted 11.43% to close at R4.34.

Some listed property stocks recorded declines on the day which saw stocks such as Fortress REIT [JSE:FFB] lose 6.54% to close at R7.00, while Intu Properties [JSE:ITU] dropped 4.65% to close at R3.28.

Diversified mining giant Anglo American PLC [JSE:AGL] lost 1.05% to close at R386.53, while sector peer BHP Group [JSE:BHP] closed at R321.95 after losing 1.16%.

Losses were also recorded for Multichoice Group [JSE:MCG] which weakened by 3.26% to close at R103.29, as well as Bid Corporation [JSE:BID] which closed at R323.93 after losing 2.5%.

Steinhoff International [JSE:SNH] closed amongst the day's biggest gainers after the stock surged 20% to close at R1.08. Cement maker PPC [JSE:PPC] gained 6.96% to close at R2.46, while Omnia Holdings [JSE:OMN] advanced 2.6% to close at R33.98. Telecoms provider Telkom [JSE:TKG] rose 3.6% to close at R33.42, while index heavyweight Naspers [JSE:NPN] advanced 1.42% to close at R2495.58.

Gains were also recorded for Shoprite Holdings [JSE:SHP] which gained 2.27% to close at R119.72, and Dis-Chem Pharmacies [JSE:DCP] which closed at R26.05 after adding 1.2%.

The JSE All-Share Index eventually closed 0.45% weaker, while the blue-chip JSE Top-40 Index lost 0.34%. The industrials index managed to record gains of 0.2%, however, the resources and financials indices lost 1.3% and 0.31% respectively.

Brent crude continues to slide as fears over the coronavirus heighten globally. The commodity was trading 0.99% weaker at $56.06/barrel just after the JSE close.

At 17:00 CAT, gold was down 1.05% at $1 573.13/Oz, platinum was 1.6% firmer at $971.77/Oz, and palladium was up 0.9% at $2 298.50/Oz.

* Musa Makoni is a trading specialist at Purple Group.

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